This tip has expired. Please check our free horse racing tips section of the website to find the most up to date.
Monday was an even day with the one winner. Baltray won with his head in his chest at Hereford and put in a nice performance as the market suggested as went off at odds-on. Puffin Bay came with a winning run jumping the last hurdle but missed out by a neck and Western General was a bit too keen and looked a tough ride for Sean Bowen, I wouldn't want to touch him anytime soon.
Warwick 12:12 – Excelero 4/1 (1pt)
I think this race is screaming out for a newcomer to come and brush them all aside and I landed on Excelero to be that horse.
Jane Williams is a good judge of juvenile hurdles so I'm more than happy to take a chance on her French-bred horse to make a winning start on hurdle/rules debut. Over the last few years she has been getting a couple of above-average juvenile hurdles, though not top-class, they are reaching the 120 and 130 ratings, and she spent £45,000 on this son of Castle Du Berlais. This horse is related to a winner in France over the jumps who won a Listed race over fences and seemed to enjoy the soft ground, so I'm happy enough to have a play on this NH-bred horse against the flat horses.
Based on his pedigree the ground will be fine, and so will the trip as if he follows in the footsteps on his siblings then he'll stay further in time. Jane had a decent juvenile newcomer at Wincanton the other day and was only beaten by 0.75L losing to a Paul Nicholls odds-on favourite, which was another French-bred that Jane bought and they bought that horse for £15,000, so based on that this horse should fare a bit better than that runner. She also had a 3yo bumper winner on debut at odds of 16/1, another French-bred who was bought for less than Excelero.
Warwick 1:55 – Iroko 6/4 (2pt)
At the beginning of last season, I doubt anyone other than JP McManus and the training duo of Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero would've believed that Iroko would've been a Cheltenham Festival winner and a Grade 1 placed horse over hurdles, but he did achieve that and based on that I think he should have a bit too much class for the others in this field, as long as he can jump a fence.
You've got a couple of horses who are also making their chase debuts in this race. Ballymackie comes straight into a chase race on the back of being bought from the PTP scene, which isn't the usual route you see, but you can't exactly know too much about him as PTP form is difficult to weigh up, but if the money comes it'll have to be respected. Get A Tonic was a decent mare last season over hurdles, but I think she lacks the class to beat a horse of Iroko's stature. Golden Son has one previous race over Fences in France, but he's not been seen for 500+ days and Paul Nicholls' French recruits aren't exactly reliable of their first runs, and you often get your fingers burnt. He is clearly a very talented horse as his rating of 142 would suggest, but I'd assume he'd need this run quite badly. Kilbeg King is probably the main danger as he was a progressive horse over staying trips last year, topping it off by winning at the Punchestown festival. I think he'll be a good chaser in the future but will need further. Ballydesmond is carrying a penalty for a win he had in a Hunters' Chase, the form isn't anything unreal so has to be opposed on that basis.
Iroko was always going to be a chaser after last season was finished, as that was the message which was said, so he clearly has shown plenty of fluent jumping at home to do that as I'm sure he could've easily won some Graded races over hurdles in the weak 3m division. This training duo have been doing great with their novice chasers this year and I think this horse is a very exciting recruit to the chasing ranks and he might be able to compete at the top level, like he did at Aintree last year.
Warwick 4:15 – Bob Bank 14/1 (0.5pt EW Skybet 5pl)
It's very annoying to see some huge odds have gone on Bob Bank but it appears the ‘shrewdies' have already taken the big odds.
The fact this horse was available at 40/1 earlier today is crazy, especially now he is 12s or 14s/1, but I still think he could be a big improver for today's race. He finished fourth on chase debut at Warwick behind Safe Destination who races in the race again today, but I thought he shaped much better than his finishing place and margin behind the winner would suggest. His jumping was accurate apart from the final fence before turning for home, but he travelled nicely into the race, but didn't seem to have the same finishing kick or turn of foot as the winner did, but for a first run over fences and on seasonal reappearance it was nothing more than a fitness run I'd assume, like many have for the Christian Williams yard.
I think sometimes you can tell when there's a handicap blot in the system and I was tempted to back Bob Bank on his race at Uttoxeter as the signs were there that he could be well-handicapped. I'm a big fan of trainers who put their horses up in trip and combine that with their handicap and chase debut, it just appears like they've been playing the handicap game by putting their horses in races which don't suit them, and when they get a mark that's when they really start to try. They've put this horse up in trip again, and I just think we might see further improvement from this horse today. Obviously, we've missed the big odds, but he's still an EW price.
Warwick - 12:12 pm
4/1 @ Bet365
Warwick - 1:55 pm
6/4 @ Bet365
Warwick - 4:15 pm