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Moonlighter was very well backed just before they raced, backed into around 6/4F. His jumping was a bit sketchy, especially the second where he jumped far too high. He was then on and off the bridle on the backstraight of the final circuit, tried to challenge around the bend but the door was slammed in front of him, and then weakened after that.
Fontwell 12:40 – Zhiguli 2/1 (1pt, Bet365)
To see Zhiguli as not the favourite for this three-runner contest is a surprise, but I'm more than happy to take the odds on him as I thought based on his seasonal reappearance he was the one to beat.
He finished 4th at Ascot in a very good handicap, he jumped nicely throughout but looked to be in need of the run as he got tired turning for home and couldn't match those ahead of him. He probably would've finished 5th or 6 if it wasn't for the fallers at the final fence, but still, I thought it was a very nice comeback for the jumps season. They went back to Ascot for his second run, but he wasn't at the races that day and I do think the ground wasn't soft enough for him, his jumping wasn't anywhere near as good as the time before which came on a softer surface, and he was swiftly pulled up when he was tailing off from the field.
This looks like a nice opportunity for him to get his head back in front, especially on a testing surface which is what he needs. This trip is perfectly fine for him even though he stays further, but off his current handicap mark of 126 which will be 123 when Caoilin Quinn takes off 3lbs, that puts him below his last winning mark which came in March earlier this year.
Fontwell 1:40 – Flintara 3/1 (1pt, Bet365)
For my second and final bet of the day, it also comes at Fontwell and I also pleasantly surprised to see the odds for Flintara being as they are, as I was expecting a fairly shorter price.
In this race you're either going to be opting for proven stamina and jumping or the unexpected, unexposed horse who might appreciate the hike in trip. I obviously opted for the former as I thought it's going to be tough to get 3m 2f on heavy ground at Fontwell, and to go for a horse who isn't proven over this far, nor fences, like Presenting Nelly, at the prices is ridiculous. The favourite handles soft ground, proving that when winning at Newton Abbot over 2m 1f on heavy ground, but that is completely different to 3m 2f on chase debut.
Flintara has only raced twice over fences, but her jumping last time out was good enough to suggest she can win races of this nature. She finished 3rd at Ffos las over 3m on his seasonal reappearance after 222 days off the track and that was a pleasing effort. The winner was from the in-form Venetia Williams stable who was clearly on a good mark and the second is a good yardstick for the grade. She looked in need of that run, which the odds would suggest as well, so given that she's had that run and is proven over 3m 2f at this track on soft ground, I thought it was a no-brainer sticking him up as a selection. The time when he won over 3m 2f at Fontwell she did it with ease as well.
Fontwell - 12:40 pm
2/1 @ Bet365
Fontwell - 1:40 pm