A dreadful start to the new season yesterday, and my fingers are crossed that I’ll get my “jumping eye” in soon. I have spent a large chunk of the day, trying to get a chum to complete a task she agreed to undertake. Nada. Zip. Nothing. Why do people take on so much that they fail to deliver the simplest things. Another chum comes around for coffee and to eat the last of my fresh-baked Croissants – timing is everything in The Drop-in for Coffee Stakes – and I mention this and ask why can’t Madame Incomplete improve? “Because” she said, “we’re girls and we don’t need to improve – further more, all self-improvement is anathema.” I know not only when my breakfast has gone, but when to shut up.
Talking of crumbs from the table, here are today’s racing tips.
1:45 DONCASTER vertem.co.uk Doncaster Stakes Cl1 (2yo) 6f
HELMONT has a modest pedigree but his yearling price of 15,000gns looked very reasonable considering how green he ran LTO. He didn’t have a clear run but squeezed through a gap, to take what at first appeared as an ordinary Haydock maiden, by a nose. The race, however, has produced three winners and it looks like decent form. The hat-trick seeking JUST FRANK seems to improve in each race and he spreadeagled the Newmarket field LTO landing a huge gamble in the process (33s to 12s) coming clear at the furlong pole. He’s clearly a smart gelding and do not be put off if he sweats up, which he is prone to do.
2:05 CHELTENHAM Masterson Holdings Hurdle Cl2 (4yo) 2m½f
ALLMANKIND carries a penalty and has already beaten several of these. His hurdle career started impressively with a hat trick and despite looking over-keen at times, won a G2 over C&D and the G1 Finale Juvenile at Chepstow. His 3rd to Burning Victory in Triumph Hurdle LTO, was more a question of poor tactics than lack of ability, having been set too fast a pace. STRATAGEM from Paul Nicholls, who beat subsequent Adonis winner Solo at Auteuil last autumn fetched £¼m and has had two starts for his new yard. At a price, I like ANNA BUNINA whose trainer, John McConnell, won this in 2018 with Pearl Of The West. She’s got a handy allowance and Richard Johnson in the plate and this looks a potential plot.
ANNA BURINA Win
2:20 DONCASTER Vertem Very Different Stockbrokers Handicap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 5f
Six furlongs was too far for CAME FROM THE DARK LTO, and this return to the minimum will possibly see him back to his best. He won’t mind the ground and there may yet be more to come. ORVAR might be of interest if I can get 10s
CAME FROM THE DARK Win – ORVAR e/w (10s or better)
2:40 CHELTENHAM Best Odds At Matchbook Novices’ Chase (GBB Race) Cl2 (4yo+) 2m4f
PILEON from Philip Hobbs looked a decent type, when taking novice hurdles at Catterick and Ffos Las, the latter by 20 lengths! He was only narrowly beaten on his handicap debut in the Martin Pipe in the Covid Festival and this will be a revelatory race for his fans. He is the only one in here without chasing experience but if he likes it he wins it.
2:55 DONCASTER Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes (G1) Cl1 (2yo) 1m
Aidan O’Brien has won the race nine times before, and runs Dewhurst 2nd WEMBLEY here. He’ll get the mile and he is according to the bookies, the one to beat. The Autumn Stakes winner ONE RULER looks dangerous, while MAC SWINEY has beaten WEMBLEY and his best efforts have come on soft ground, including taking the G2 Futurity Stakes.
MAC SWINEY e/w
3:15 CHELTENHAM Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) Cl2 (4yo+) 3m
TOBEFAIR won this last year and has his conditions to suit. Jack Tudor takes 5lbs off which will help and he has not been disgraced when facing stiffer opposition than this. Back in handicap company he seems a lively contender. NEVILLE’SCROSS is progressive and caught the eye hosing up at Hereford by 20l and he is hoping to defy a 12lb penalty. The unexposed FLINCK looks a danger, while I’D BETTER GO NOW also appears on a number of lists. However, it could be worth taking a chance on MINELLA WARRIOR at 16s+. Kim Bailey’s horse won’t mind being back over hurdles, and won from this mark at Wetherby in March 2019, winning by 3l. He is 3/5 over hurdles, the ground is no problem , the yard’s in form. Almost the bet of the day.
MINELLA WARRIOR e/w
3:35 NEWBURY Molson Coors Beverage Company Stakes (Registered As The Horris Hill Stakes)(G3) (2yo) 7f
EXISTENT looks potentially made for this following his 6l victory at Newmarket over 7f on similar ground.Ignore his Coventry start, which he bogged up, although he ran on well in the latter stages. I think he’ll improve again to go close. NASTASE might be decent and is too long at 9s Dutch the pair
EXISTENT win dutched – NASTASE win dutched
3:50 CHELTENHAM Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Chase (GBB Race) Cl2 (4yo+) 3m1f
Emma Lavelle’s MANOFTHEMOUNTAIN doesn’t look to have too many miles on the clock and he has won all four of his completed chase starts. He was impressive at Bangor LTO after nine months off and having lost a shoe he wondered around a bit, but still beat more experienced horses and is open to improvement. Cheltenham regular COGRY has finished first, second and third in the last 3 renewals and while he will be set up for this, and fond of him as I am, I don’t see him winning. FRODON has to give a stone plus (17lb) to them all and of course he benefits from Bryony. COBRA DE MAI wasn’t beaten far when sixth in the Ultima here in March, with ground which was less than ideal for him and this drier ground will suit him. He is 2lbs better now. The booking of Paddy Brennan on SENSULANO takes the eye considering Fergal O’Brien has a horse in the race. (Because PERFECT CANDIDATE has had 3lbs taken off from Fergal’s booking of decent claimer Connor Brace). The 25f distance might result in an improved performance, and she won’t mind the ground, is economic in her jumping and gets on well with Paddy as shown from the pairs 2nd in a G2 Mares race at Ascot. She’s tough, handles all sorts of ground conditions and if she is fit and ready, I’m expecting a decent performasnce – perhaps even a winning one.
MANOFTHEMOUNTAIN Win – SENSULANO e/w
4:10 NEWBURY Pravha Stakes (Registered As The St Simon Stakes) (G3) (3yo+) 1m4f
Hughie Morrison runs KIPPS who is a model of consistency when it comes to being placed. 2nd at Haydock in June, went close in the King George V, ran well when third in the Melrose, looked OK when etc etc etc . I would be enthused by a 1 appearing in the formline. He is the lowest rated in the race – 25lb shy of HEADMAN, but who knows. The price is far too short. He should be 12s. ALOUNAK is decent – 2nd in the Hardwicke – and the ground will be fine. Off a decent pace he’s in with a chance. EUCHEN GLEN carries a 3lb penalty having won a G3 LTO over 12f and this ground, and his 5th in The Ebor promises stamina in abundance, for the boggy back straight.
EUCHEN GLEN Win
17:35 CHELTENHAM BUMPER
This is a highly-competitive race, and for the last six weeks I keep hearing whispers for local trainer, Harry Whittington’s DOCPICKEDME. The 4yo won a decent Irish point and is reported to have a hell of a stride and some stamina. He appears on a number of Horse To Follow lists.