We get the week off to a quiet but competitive start with just the three meetings to digest – National Hunt action from up at the picturesque course that is Kelso plus Flat racing from both Redcar and Windsor.
Obviously at this early point of the Flat Season it is hard to access the fitness of some of the leading contenders but we have highlighted some of the best bets from across the cards and hopefully kick the week off with a couple of nice priced winners!
You know the flat season is back when you see a meeting down by the Thames at Windsor, who stages its first meeting of the season this and we don’t need to wait long for the best value bet on the card as like the chances of the Mick Channon trained VALENTINO SUNRISE in the sprint handicap at 2:20pm and looks a fair bet at the current prices.
The 3yr old was a duel winner in his Novice season, and showed that he goes on any type of ground by scoring on both the heavy surface at Haydock but also on the quicker ground at Ffos Las in September. It is expected to ride on the quicker side this afternoon which should prove no hindrance for the speed ball and though fitness needs to be taken into account with this being his first visit to the race track for 149 days Channon looks to have his yard fairly forward and wouldn’t expect that to be a major issue.
Good young apprentice Scott McCullagh takes a valuable 7lbs off his back too and with today’s mark of 63 being just the two pound higher than when last seen in the winners enclosure all looks set for another big effort.
At this stage of the season stakes are always best to be kept to a minimum in contests such as this, and the main danger could be The Defiant for Paul Midgley who is always to be respected when sending a runner down South, but Valentino Sunrise is the one that looks the most obvious answer and rates a nice bit of value at the current odds.
The National Hunt circus makes its way up to Kelso this afternoon which is a fair trek for trainer Kim Bailey to be sending ANOTHER VENTURE which could be a tip in itself and ranks the best bet at the meeting this afternoon.
Bailey would have had numerous other options for the 8 yr-old closer to home so could prove to be a smart bit of placing from the former Gold Cup winning yard and the horse seems to love these more tricky and tight venues having scored at Plumpton in the middle of last month.
It could also be significant that he has decided to add the visors for the first time, and though up 4lbs for victory last time out this was despite making a bad error 2 fences out and would be worth marking him up for that run.
Kelso typically suits a front running type, which is exactly the tactics Bailey likes to employ with the majority of his runners and would expect to see young jockey Mikey Hamill looking to make all, or at the very least be prominent throughout and could prove hard to pass if improving as expected from the Plumpton victory.
This is actually a very competitive race for the grade and track, and fellow front runner Midnight Shot would rank as the main danger if back to anywhere near his form of a few seasons ago, but it is advisable tot side with Another Venture who looks on the upgrade and this looks a good opportunity for him to continue winning ways.
Redcar always stages interesting meetings and today’s affair looks no different and the stand out bet on the card comes in the mile handicap at 4:00pm for three year olds where RELOADED looks the type to take hell of a lot of beating from his current handicap mark.
The selection is partly owned by Excel Racing who we talk about more below – and the syndicate could be in for a profitable day as Reloaded has always been seriously well regarded by his trainer and comes into handicap company on a mark of 85 which is hard to believe will be the ceiling of his ability comes the end of this season.
He was often well backed in his Novice season, and opened his account at Pontefract in a race that worked out really and was backed up by the winning figure on the clock that was significantly the best on the card that day.
He is bred to improve with age and this step up to a mile, and with Oisin Murphy being an eye catching jockey booking all looks set for a big run and likely prove hard to beat.
The mile handicap at 4:50 looks one of the trickiest races on the card but the one who does stand out is the Roger Teal trained HIGH ACCLAIM who ranks as solid solid Each-Way value at the morning prices and this looks a good opportunity to return to winning ways.
The 5 yr-old is owned by Excel Racing, a syndicate headed by Premier League striker Charlie Austin so would be no surprise to see the son of Elusive Quality well backed throughout the day as they seem to be a group of owners who are not scared to have a dabble in the betting ring when one of their horses looks to be fancied.
The horse was actually the winner of the Spring Mile at Doncaster back at the start of the last flat season, and following this was rated as high of 86 – so could look really well handicapped for today’s contest from an 11lb lower mark. This would be a significantly easier affair than the Spring Mile and having shown a return to form when runner up at Wolverhampton last time out things could be set for a return to the winners enclosure.
As mentioned it is a trappy enough race so not one to have the mortgage on – the likes of Gainsay and Hackbridge look improving types and likely to have their supporters, but High Acclaim makes the most appeal down in grade and looks a cracking bet under these conditions.