A busy Friday of action with the 5 meetings for us to get our teeth stuck into, this afternoon brings us National Hunt action from Wetherby and Fontwell Park alongside competitive action from Lingfield on the All-weather, before we turn our attentions to the traditional Friday night meetings from Newcastle and over at Dundalk.
A competitive and informative day across the cards, and we have highlighted 5 strong selections that hopefully boost the bankroll before the busy weekend of racing is upon us!
There is a competitive sprint handicap from Lingfield at 3:05pm which could well be a form line to follow as includes a number of in form sprinters, but the selection for the race is the Antony Brittain trained DRAKEFELL who looks a cracking value selection at the current price of 9/2.
Brittain does well with the horses that he recruits from other yards, and he acquired the 4 yr-old out of the Richard Hannon yard and seems to have revitalised the colt. Drakefell was always held in some regard by Hannon and was often well backed in his 2yr-old days and was rated as high as 85 earlier in his career.
On his final run for Hannon at Wolverhmapton over today’s trip, Drakefell looked to improve for the blinkers being applied and scored in really good style by 4 lengths, and though this was in claiming company the winning time suggested that the horse had found his old zest and that there could be plenty more to come in handicap company.
It looks a clever decision by the trainer to book young apprentice Seamus Cronin for the ride, as clearly knows the horse well having scored on him at Wolverhampton last time and could make the difference in today’s contest.
Warriors Valley would need to be respected and clearly in good heart at the current time and Captain Lars will try to kick out and make all from the front, but we are hoping he will prove to be a sitting duck for Drakefell who we fancy to continue winning ways and take the honours.
Trainer Mark Johnston is a genius at grinding more improvement out of his horses and you never really know when they have reached the ceiling of their ability and this looks the case with the best bet from Lingfield this afternoon – LORD LAMINGTON, who looks to have improved once again and should prove hard to beat in the 10 furlong handicap at 4:10pm.
The 3 yr-old was always well regarded as a novice but proved disappointing as was unable to score in his 2 yr old days, but since his gelding operation over the winter he seems a different horse and put up a career best effort last time out at Newcastle when taking advantage of an attractive handicap mark of just 64 to score by 7 lengths.
Though raised 13lbs by the handicapper to a mark of 77 for today’s race, this really was a performance of note which was backed up by the winning figure on the clock that suggested this son of Australia could be rated well north of 77 by the end of this current season.
This is a step back in trip from the mile and half at Newcastle, but shouldn’t really pose any problems as has shown plenty of early pace and would expect shrewd rider Franny Norton to kick on and ensure a good gallop if they don’t go quick enough for him and if in the same mood as last time out is hard to dismiss.
A competitive card at Fontwell this afternoon where the ground is likely to be on the quicker side which will suit EDGAR perfectly and conditions look ideal for another big run from David Bridgwaters consistent 9 yr-old.
He was a good winner in a tight Leicester handicap chase on Valentines Day, and this form has worked out very well with the likes of Kahdian running big races since. Following this he was seen over today’s course and distance when disappointing, but this was on heavy ground – which really wouldn’t have suited at all and could be worth putting a line through the run.
Fontwell is a really hard course when the going turns heavy, and can make some good horses look poor and so it would be worth forgiving him this effort and if that is the case would be a much shorter price for today’s winnable contest.
Young jockey Mitchell Bastyan takes off a vital 5lbs which could be significant and clearly gets on really well with the horse having partnered him to the Leicester victory and also when a close runner up previous to this at Plumpton.
The main danger could be the unexposed Shintori, who has run solid races in defeat recently and looks a horse well handicapped at the current time, but its hard to get past Edgar who looks the type to bounce back and rates cracking value at the current price of 4/1.
Dundalk stages on of its traditional Friday evening meetings and the best bet on the card looks set to come in the 5 furlong handicap at 6:15pm where we like the chances of the David Marnane trained AR SAOIRSE who looks set to go one better this evening.
As often mentioned, it is always beneficial to follow sprinters in form, and the 4yr-old has put up big efforts the last two times we have seen him at the venue, being beaten just a short head and a neck in these contests. He is clearly in good heart at the moment and this race looks slightly easier than those he has been contesting recently.
Young jockey Oisin Orr seems to get on really well with the horse, who doesn’t look the easiest of rides as can be keen early in his races, so our chances will be significantly improved if we see Orr settling him in the front rank early doors. He does like to front run, and fingers crossed they can break well from stall 7 and get a nice position on the front end, and if this is the case he could be hard to pass up the long Dundalk straight.
Blastofmagic would rate the main danger as the booking of leading rider Colin Keane catches the eye, but its hard to give a sprinter in form the elbow and therefore the bet in the race is sprint king David Marnane’s Ar Saoirse.
We need to wait until the finale on this evening’s Newcastle card for the best bet at the meeting as like the chances of inform sprinter CANFORD BAY to end the day on a high and expect him to get back to winning ways.
Antony Brittain is a trainer as we mentioned earlier does really well with his small string and seems to specifically have a nack with sprinters, and course and distance winner Canford Bay can be marked up on his run earlier this week at Wolverhampton as though it looks a disappointing effort finishing 7th of 11, he was drawn widest that day and had no luck in running and had his run blocked at a vital stage of the contest. He finished well there to suggest there was plenty left in the tank and a return to the track where he seems to run a big race every time should see him in much better light.
Furthermore, the 5 yr-old normally demonstrates loads of early pace, but actually was slow away last time – so it may be worth ignoring this bit of form altogether and if you were to focus on his effort over course and distance at the start of the month behind Zapper Cass you would have to make him the one to beat in this slightly easier looking contest.