A bumper afternoon’s racing on ITV with eleven races coming at you from with top class jumps action from Wincanton, where the ground is currently good, Aintree (good soft, soft in places though softer on National course at soft all over), Down Royal (soft) and the last day of the flat turf season at Doncaster (heavy). Plenty to get stuck into so here are my early ITV racing tips on the afternoons racing.
Eight runners go to post for the opener at the West Country track for mares only handicap hurdle. The most interesting runner here is Harry Fry’s top weight Lady Adare who makes her handicap debut having won a bumper (for Micky Hammond) and three novice hurdles last season. She could be anything but first time out and with a welter weight of 12 stone I’ll happily pass especially as she’s been well found in the market. The two I’m interested in are the first and third from last year in Alan King’s Wynn House, who’s fallen back to the same mark she won off and Joe Tizzard’s Rise Of Arcadia who went down by three and a half lengths and is a pound worse off. The difference this time round is that Tizzard’s seven year old, unlike last year, has had a run this when winning easily at Chepstow and with the stable’s horses in such fine form she’s the pick.
ITV Racing Tip – ROSE OF ARCADIA 1 point each way @ 4/1 bet365 1/5th 123
The ground will be very testing on Town Moor this afternoon for their last meeting of the flat season. We start with a 6F listed contest where Art Power has to carry a 5lb penalty for his group 3 victory at The Curragh in September. He should be thereabouts for trainer Tim Easterby and jockey David Allan. The best in at these weights is actually Commanche Falls who’s been running consistently well all season and has form on soft (if not heavy) ground. Michael Dodd’s five year old should be thereabouts. Chipstead arrives in top form having won two of his last three starts but does have to step up again. Comanche Falls will do for me although a word of caution that with the ground so testing bets should be kept to a minimum as we could easily see some freak results at Doncaster today.
ITV Racing Tip – COMMANCHE FALLS 1 point win @ 10/3 bet365
An interesting eight runner 3M handicap hurdle is up next. Seven of the eight runners are making their seasonal debuts and the market will no doubt help come off time. David Pip runs two in last year’s third Remastered (a pound lower here) and Gericault Roque who I’m a big fan of and is been trained for the Coral Gold Cup (Hennessy Gold Cup in old money).Philip Hobbs’ Deise Aba was runner up in this last year but Hobb’s horses are not running that well at present. Paul Nicholls saddles Milan Bridge who won three of his four starts last season and the booking of 3lb claiming conditional jockey Tom Buckley catches the eye. I’ll be closely watching Gericault Roque here with the Coral Gold Cup in mind but with so many question marks over the fitness of the eight it’s a no bet race for me.
Six have declared for the grade 2 ‘Rising Stars’ Novices’ Chase run over 2m 4F. Paul Nicholls has his string in excellent shape and unleashes his smart hurdler McFabulous to take on fences for the first time on a racecourse. On official hurdle ratings he’s got 10lb and upwards in hand of these and if he can jump well he should be winning this. Best of the rest may be Tom Lacey’s Sebastopol who’s penalised 5lb for winning a match at Chepstow on his penultimate outing. Not very exciting I’m afraid but it’s the favourite McFabulous for me to give local trainer Nicholls his fifth win in this race in the last ten years.
ITV Racing Tip – MCFABULOUS 2 points win @ 6/5 William Hill
A big field of eighteen assemble for this 10F fillies listed contest. The best in at the weights is William Haggas’s Sweet Believer who was last seen finishing runner up in the Balmoral Handicap on Ascot’s Champions Day. Her previous second spot to subsequent group one winner Bayside Boy on soft ground reads very well now and she’s the selection here. Charlie Appleby’s Life Of Dream is still relatively unexposed but how she will cope with very soft ground is another matter although her dam was a three time winner on soft ground. She should be thereabouts. Ralph Beckett saddles a brace here in Star Fortress (Rob Hornby) and Moon De Vega (Rossa Ryan) with preference for the latter who won a maiden on soft ground at last years meeting.
ITV Racing Tip – SWEET BELIEVER 1 point each way @ 4/1 bet365 1/5th 1234
The 61st running of the Badger Beer Handicap Chase has attracted a fair sized field of thirteen for this £70,000 guaranteed purse. The last two winners of this race are back to have another go in 2020 winner El Presente and last year’s victor Rocco. Alan King saddles his Potterman who was runner up to Rocco last year and could be a player along with recent Cheltenham winner Lord Accord who’s been raised 5lb for that victory. There is one horse here though that stands out to my eyes and warrants the days best bet. The horse in question is Paul Nicholls’ top weight Frodon. He was due to go to Down Royal to take on the likes of Galvin but has been re-routed here as the ground is too soft over there. Down Royal’s loss is very much Wincanton’s gain. Ridden, as usual by Bryony Frost, he has an excellent record fresh with absences of over 100 days for Nicholls reads 131311 and he won the big race at Down Royal on this day last year in a battle royal with Galvin. The handicapper have been very kind in dropping him 6lb for a below par effort at Cheltenham in March (his lowest mark for four years) and he has had his wind tinkered with since. He loves to bowl along and with no out and out front runner in the field that’s surely what Frost will do here. Nicholls stated in a recent stable tour that he’s had an away day to get him straight for this day and with the ground in his favour he’s sure to be thereabouts and can take this prestigious contest.
ITV Racing Tip – FRODON 3 points win @ 7/2 bet365
The Grand Sefton Handicap Chase is run over 2m 5F over the Grand National fences and this year has attracted fifteen entries. The classiest runner has to be Kim Bailey’s top weight Two For Gold who hasn’t been seen since pulling up in the Grand National last April but has a good record fresh and his stable is in decent form. Despite his big weight he’s very much a player here. Jessie Harrington sends over Lifetime Ambition and he too has to be respected on his handicap debut. Sam Thomas has his team in fine form also and saddles Al Dancer under Charlie Deutsch, yet another with claims. Senior Citizen was runner up in this contest last year so we know he jumps these unique fences well and is another for the mix. Paul Nicholls saddles his novice Broken Halo and he looks fairly treated. A tough call but I’m hoping that class will tell and top weight Two For Gold can strike for Kim Bailey and David Bass.
ITV Racing Tip – TWO FOR GOLD 1 point each way @ 13/2 William Hill 1/5th 12345
Down Royal 2.32
The feature race of the two day Down Royal card is the 3M Champion Chase with just the five going to post. Galvin went down by 3/4L to Frodon last year having previously won at Punchestown and has won the same race this season to tee him up for this. Trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Davy Russell his main danger may lie within with his stable companion Conflated officially rated a 2lb better horse. Last year’s Irish Gold Cup winner has a 212 day absence to overcome and that may be his downfall. Willie Mullins runs Kemboy but he’s been disappointing of late. Envoi Allen is up in trip here and could run well but this really is Galvin’s to lose.
ITV Racing Tip – GALVIN 2 points win @ 11/10 bet365
A disappointing turnout of just four here for the 2m 4F class two hurdle. Best in at these weights today is last year’s very easy winner Brewin’upastorm trained by Olly Murphy who’s been amongst the winners recently. He was ultra impressive that day and if he returns in something like the same form will be hard to beat. He’s had a wind operation since last seen and will be ridden today by Sean Bowen. Dan Skelton’s Langer Dan is his main rival according to the betting but he has to shoulder a 4lb penalty here so is effectively rated a stone behind the confident selection. Jeremy Scott’s Dashel Drasher wouldn’t be out of it on his best form whilst Voix Du Reve is out of his depth.
ITV Racing Tip – BREWIN’UPASTORM 2 points win @ 5/4 BetVictor
Another small field of only four line up for the Elite Hurdle with Alan King’s Sceau Royal the one to beat. He’s won this race for the past two years and teed up for the hat trick with a bloodless win at Kempton three weeks ago. The best of his three opponents is surely Paul Nicholl’s Knappers Hill who impressed on his re-appearance when winning a valuable handicap hurdle at Chepstow which has worked out very well with the runner up and seventh both winning since. Milkwood is capable on his best form and not totally out of it whilst Knight Salute has to shoulder a three pound penalty which will make things difficult for the four year old. It’s maybe closer than the betting suggests but I’ll take Sceau Royal to get the three timer up and beat Knappers Hill.
ITV Racing Tip – SCEAU ROYAL 2 points win @ 11/10 William Hill
The day’s eleven race marathon finishes with the November Handicap run over 12F. John Gosden has a rich history with the race having won it six times since 1991 whilst his father Towser also had plenty of success in the race. John is now united with his son Thady in the training ranks and they team up with the clear favourite in Israr who’s two from two on Town Moor. His latest success was an easy victory from the re-opposing Sir Rumi on heavy ground when he powered away to win by just under four length looking to all like a potential future pattern winner. Plenty to like bar today’s price! At around 10/3 in a twenty two runner handicap and drawn number 21 (though to be fair that hasn’t been a problem in the past) I can let him win and look for some each way value elsewhere with additional places. I one I like is the smart mud loving hurdler Metier trained by Harry Fry. Not seen on the flat since September 2019 when trained in Ireland byAndrew Slattery, he seems much improved for the transfer to Fry winning four times on soft and heavy reaching his current handicap mark in the winter game of 144. His current flat mark of 89 looks very lenient in comparison and I’ll take a chance with him with Saffie Osborne claiming 3lb on board.
ITV Racing Tip – METIER 1 point each way @ 10/1 bet365 1/5th 123456