This tip has expired. Please check our free horse racing tips section of the website to find the most up to date.
Not the most ideal day on Thursday with one non-runner and two horses not winning. The 2pt NAP from Ireland looked to be going nicely, but her efforts were tame when under pressure. I thought she'd be staying on strongly, which she did after the last, but she struggled to pick up between the last couple of hurdles. I expected much more from that horse. Abbeyhill probably should've won, I think the jockey on the winner was the determining factor as the 7lb claimer on board seemed very animated and all over the place, with a more experienced jockey on top I think the horse wins.
Newbury 2:25 – Frero Banbou 4/1 (1pt, WilliamHill)
I don't see many in this race who are ahead of their marks at this moment in their careers, other than maybe two or three, but I'd whittle it down to two who have a great chance and that would be between Frero Banbou and Kandoo Kid.
The Nicholls horse I just mentioned is still a very lightly raced horse and will no doubt be better than his current mark, but he was touched off by a Venetia Williams well-handicapped horse last time out, and I think the same will happen in this race. Frero Banbou has danced all the big dances in the major handicaps over 2m, he has won a few races but often hits the bar, but his form did tail off towards the back end of last year and subsequently, his handicap mark did drop. His running style has always given me and probably many others plenty of optimism that 2m 4f and maybe even further is within reach as over 2m he was always running on strongly at the finish, but would often run out of distance to run horses down. He was tried over 2m 4f at the Cheltenham Festival, it didn't go to plan and he was well back, but I thought his return to racing over the Grand National fences was a great start for this season, and showed that he could be competitive off this reduced mark and that he does stay the trip.
He has won off 1lb higher (134) but has been placed off handicap marks as high as 142, so he is a classy horse on his day. His jumping over 2m was a bit sketchy, but I think that was down to him lacking the speed for the trip, which meant he was playing catchup more often than not and that would take away the concentration from meeting the fences on the correct stride as he had to build momentum up to bridge the gaps. Over this type of trip, I think there is more to come and with him being below his last winning mark, he has to be a big player in this contest.
Doncaster 1:25 – Whodini 11/4 (1pt, Bet365)
My selection for this race was in the race I previewed above, but his main race is reported to be this Doncaster race, which on paper looks an easier assignment for Whodini.
I thought he'd run a decent race at Newbury in the race above and I think he has a much better chance of winning this race. He is progressing nicely for the Greenall & Guerriero stable shown by winning two on the bounce over slightly further than today's distance. I don't think the drop in trip is going to help him, but the long Doncaster straight should combat that and cancel it out as the straight at this track will bring in a horse's stamina and catch many out. I'd expect him to be off the bridle but he'll be staying on strongly and picking horses off one by one and eventually getting the win.
He won in strong staying style last time over 1.5f further at Wetherby, beating Vintage Fizz who races in this race today. The weights are similar but are now favouring Vintage Fizz to turn the form on its head, but I think there's still more to come from this horse. He'll love the good ground and I think this galloping track will be an advantage for him as well.
Musselburgh 2:45 – Prince De Juilley 9/2 (1pt)
I think it's worth a shot on Prince De Juilley given that Alistair Ralph was 1/1 at Musselburgh before running Magna Sam yesterday and he gave us a nice winner from his only runner at Kelso the other week.
He doesn't send many horses this far north from his base, so when they do travel this far they have to be respected, even when they might not look the most obvious candidate on paper. I thought Prince De Juilley's chase debut was a nice start to life over fences and he evidently needed that run at Worcester as he wasn't beaten that far from how he jumped as he jumped nicely apart from one before entering the back straight, but all in all for a debut it was an accurate round of jumping, including a couple where he had to be clever when he got in close to a few fences.
This race looks okay for the grade with Dr Shirocco likely to be popular in the attempt of landing the hattrick, but I think my selection could be ahead of the handicapper off his mark of 99 now he's racefit and is over fences. His game was always going to be fences given him PTP experience which saw him win once and finish 4th on his debut. Some decent horses have come out of the PTP runs, I wouldn't be mentioning Fact To File as a form booster as he won that PTP race with ease and he's evidently a very smart horse from Willie Mullins, but a handful of other horses from his two PTP runs have looked useful over rules.
Magna Sam was disappointing yesterday for the Ralph stable, but he was carrying 12st in a very competitive race. This race sees his horse carrying 12st again, but it's a much easier assignment for this horse.
Newbury - 2:25 pm
@ The Pools
Doncaster - 1:25 pm
11/4 @ Bet365
Musselburgh - 2:45 pm