Just a few days now until the Flat season kicks off at Doncaster at the weekend but today the National Hunt takes centre stage with interesting cards at both Warwick and Newcastle with valuable prizes at both meetings.
We also have meetings on the all-weather from Dunstall Park, Wolverhampton this afternoon before skipping over to Chelmsford where we have some interesting runners and a maiden that could well be worth following over the next few weeks and months.
Fingers crossed its a profitable day to load up the satchels for the weekend, and here we have highlighted four of the best value bets from across the cards.
James Ewart has a real course specialist in ASCOT DE BRUYERE who is three from three at Gosforth Park and looks to have found an ideal opportunity to continue this winning sequence in the handicap chase at 2:30pm.
You couldn’t help but be taken back by the nature of the victory over 2miles 4 furlongs last time out when beating Cave Top by 18lengths, and though raised 13lbs for that victory which may seem harsh, he looks to be in the form of his life and if in the same mood should still be capable of scoring from the new mark of 135.
Things will be kept easy, the confirmed front runner will set off at a good gallop and look to stretch the field for jockey Steven Fox, and if jumping as well as has done recently should take some pegging back.
The 9 year old clearly loves the track and is in the best form of his career, and though the main danger Special Prep could also be on the upgrade, its hard to oppose Ascot De Bruyere who is sure to take some stopping from the front and rates the best bet on today’s Newcastle card.
Trainer Dr Richard Newland is one of the shrewdest operators in the training ranks and certainly knows when he has a well handicapped horse on his hands and this looks to be the case with the French import DUSTIN DES MOTTES who should take the beating in the 2mile handicap chase at 3:15pm from Warwick this afternoon.
Though beaten a long way at Newbury last time out in the Greatwood Gold Cup, this represents a real strong form line with the runner up Gala Ball and the third Valdez both coming out and franking the form since. The winning time was also hugely significant and would be no surprise if the race was to throw up numerous winners in the next couple of weeks and months.
This would have been a career best effort for Dustin Des Mottes, and with today’s contest representing a big drop in class you would expect a similar performance well good enough to win this afternoon and with Sam Twiston Davies back in the saddle its hard to imagine another big run not being on the cards and should be a horse to follow with bigger prizes in mind later in the spring.
This again looks a trappy contest, A Little Magic is making a return to the track after nearly 2 years on the sidelines so fitness will need to be taken on trust for his supporters and therefore the main danger could be Generous Day for upcoming trainer Henry Oliver – but its hard to see past Dustin Des Mottes who remains unexposed in this country and couldn’t be in better hands to exploit his current favourable handicap mark.
Trainer Marco Botti has had a slow start to the year but one horse that looks to be on the upgrade is his 4 yr old filly AMERICAN ENDEAVOUR who looks the one to beat in the handicap at 3:25pm and looks the best bet on this afternoon’s Wolverhampton card.
She has been bought along slowly, and the penny looks to have dropped this year as put up a career best performance when scoring over course and distance towards the end of last month. She was well backed that day to suggest the yard feel they have a well handicapped horse on their hands and as only raised 3lbs for victory would be no surprise to see her well backed throughout the day once again.
Botti seems to do really well specifically with fillies, and American Endeavour looks the type to keep progressing and seemed to appreciate the step up in trip from 7 furlongs last time out, suggesting there could still be plenty more to come from the current mark of 75.
This is a tight enough race, stable mate Yusra would have to be respected with the blinkers applied for the first time and Lady Alavesa remains in good form, but it is American Endeavour we feel should take the beating and should have no excuses from stall 6, and if progressing as expected should prove hard to beat.
There is an interesting Novice Hurdle from Newcastle at 4:10pm where the form-line could well be worth following, and the selection for the race is the Oliver Greenall trained LUCKY LOVER BOY who could be hard to beat.
The 4 yr-old was fairly decent on the flat for George Baker, rated in the 70’s and seems to have taken to obstacles well, finishing runner up on both occasions which would represent a solid level of form.
Last time out at Huntingdon he was beaten just a head in what was a decent race for the grade and had looked the winner throughout before just being caught in the final strides. This was a good step forward from the debut over hurdles and if progressing once again really could be hard to beat this afternoon.
This looks a clever bit of placing by trainer Greenall, as due to the conditions of the race he receives half a stone in allowances which could prove significant when push comes to shove and though the likes of Return Ticket are officially rated higher it could prove hard to give weight away to an improving type.
Conditions look ideal for the unexposed type and granted a clear round there should be no excuses and hopefully see Lucky Lover Boy open his account under rules.