ITV Racing Ayr And Newbury Preview

13:25 AYR - THE SCOTTY BRAND HANDICAP STEEPLE CHASE (LISTED RACE)




The first race of the day comes in the Listed contest just over 2 miles and in this tricky contest we are hoping for a resurgent run from the Paul Nicholls trained Magic Saint.

This five year old was looked at as a right gamble in the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham festival but never produced his run and to be honest, flopped.

However, before that run he was superb in a Class 2 at Wincanton beating the favourite here today Azzuri fairly comfortably and anything like that performance would see him in the mix, but does need to shrug off that Cheltenham run.

13:40 NEWBURY - THE DUBAI DUTY FREE FINEST SURPRISE STAKES (REGISTERED AS THE JOHN PORTER STAKES)

The second race of the ITV Racing Production sees a hot Group 3 contes and William Haggas’ YOUNG RASCAL was probably thrown into the deep end too soon in last season’s Epsom Derby and we still firmly believe this 4-y-o colt is still a potential Group1 horse.

The main danger in the race is quite obviously last year’s winner Defoe, but at the prices our selection offers the most value being the least exposed.

Marmelo may prove popular with e/w backers having finished behind Cross Counter in the Melbourne Cup, but a slog over further than this would be more his cup of tea.

13:55 AYR - THE DAWN HOMES NOVICES' CHAMPIONSHIP HANDICAP STEEPLE CHASE

Two selections for us in this one and in this Class 2 Handicap over 3 miles we have gone for the Henry Oliver trained Kilfilum Cross and the Paul Nicholls trained Ibis Du Rheu.

Starting with Kilfilum Cross and this grey ran a superb race at the Cheltenham festival finishing second in the Kim Muir Challenge Cup behind the Irish raider Any Second Now and now only three pounds heavier today he is the one to beat off the back of that form.

The each way angle that we have looked at in this race is the John Hales Owned Ibis Du Rheu that we believe if he gets back to his best, could seriously play a part in proceedings.

He was superb at Cheltenham three starts ago in a Class 2 Novices Chase and now back to only three pounds heavier than that winning mark he holds an each way chance at a nice price.

14:10 NEWBURY - THE DUBAI DUTY FREE STAKES (CLASS 1) (REGISTERED AS THE FRED DARLING STAKES) (GROUP 3)

Our next selection on ITV sees DANCING VEGA, who was put up as one of our horses to follow for the flat season and we fancy her to add to her trainers’ fantastic record in the race despite the unfavourable draw.

Connections unleashed some smart 2-y-o’s last season and this Lope De Vega filly is seemingly the pick of the bunch, smashing a subsequent listed winner by 4lengths on racecourse debut.

Ideally you would want to be betting e/w in this race but it is hard to look past the joint-favourite.

14:25 AYR - THE SCOTTISH CHAMPION HURDLE RACE (A LIMITED HANDICAP) (GRADE 2)

The first big race of the day at Ayr on the second day of the Grand National meeting sees the Grade 2 Scottish Champion Hurdle over 2 miles and we have gone for Nube Negra and Verdana Blue.

Starting with the Spanish bred Nube Negra and this gelding has been with the Skelton yard all season and has not quite clicked into gear like we all know he can but coming off the back a good staying on third at Newbury last time out gives him every chance of progressing again.

Verdana Blue for Nicky Henderson on ratings is a class above the rest of this field. At Christmas she beat dual Champion Hurdle winning Buveur D'Air in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and before that landed the Grade 2 Unibet Elite Hurdle at Wincanton, with both these victories coming on good ground.

She will have perfect conditions on Saturday and if brushing aside her weak fifth in the Cheltenham Champion hurdle she will hold every chance.

14:40 NEWBURY - THE WATERSHIP DOWN STUD GREENHAM STAKES (CLASS 1) (GROUP 3)

This year’s Greenham has an open look to it due to the omission of Guineas bound Too Darn Hot and we have an e/w poke in the shape of MAGIC J.

Unlike many of these, this stoutly bred son of Scat Daddy doesn’t have any proven form to his name but that reflects his price in the market and he may just be up to the step up in grade.

He quickened clear nicely on debut having had market support and the yard operate at a 25% strike rate when Oisin Murphy is in the saddle.

15:00 AYR - THE JORDAN ELECTRICS LTD FUTURE CHAMPION NOVICES' STEEPLE CHASE (GRADE 2)

The next race see's another competitive Grade 2 over 2 mile 41/2 furlongs and we have gone for the in form Alan King trained Ballywood who offers the best form in this race.

This five year old has won three out of his last four races in Britain and he did not go to Cheltenham or Aintree, just running at Ludlow and winning in what looks good preparation for this contest.

His best piece of form was two starts ago at Doncaster when he finished a narrow second to, at the time, the leading Arkle fancy at the cheltenham festival in Dynamite Dollars.

That form looks to be the pick of the field.

15:15 NEWBURY - THE MANSIONBET SPRING CUP (CLASS 2 HANDICAP)

Traditionally a tricky handicap, Exec Chief heads the market in this year’s Spring Cup but it is RED STARLIGHT & CHATEZ that catch our eye.

The former ran a cracker behind Lockinge Stakes entry Sharja Bridge last time out and doesn’t face anything of that ilk here. Conditions were different that day but this filly is as versatile as they come.

At double the odds, Alan King’s Chatez looks way overpriced. His form figures at the track read 1,2 and the in-form trainer was confident of a big run before pulling him out of the Lincoln. Buick booked.

15:35 AYR - THE CORAL SCOTTISH GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP STEEPLE CHASE (GRADE 3)

The big race of the day and just one week after the English Grand National we now have the Scottish Grand National over a slightly shorter 2 miles 7 1/2 furlongs.

To start, we are going with the Sue Smith Vintage Clouds. This nine year old went through a really good prep for the Aintree Grand National and was a leading fancy for many, but went on to fall at the first fence.

Coming out unharmed and still fit, leading connections decided to put him in this contest and if he picks up his jumping he has a really strong chance of replicating what his owners horse Vicente did back in 2017.

The each way fancy in this 28 runner race for us comes through the Caroline Bailey trained Crosspark, who is another horse that will definitely stay the trip.

This nine year old has Harry Skelton on board on Saturday and comes into this contest off the back of winning the four Mile Eider Handicap Chase at Newcastle and if jumping like he did that day he holds every chance.

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