Sandown – Friday 28th April

1:50 bet365 Esher Cup Handicap – Atty Persse (11/4)

Atty Persse made a striking impression when winning on debut over this course and distance in September. He finished the race off really strongly and was well in command of the second Hamada who went on to win a maiden by six lengths. Having subsequently been bought by Godolphin I wouldn’t be surprised if he is a group horse in a handicap. One to watch out for is First Up who boasts strong form from last season behind Rivet and Zainhom, he won at Kempton comfortably after those two runs and is an attractive each way price at 10/1.

2:20 bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes (Group 3) – Royal Artillery (5/2)

John Gosden and Frankie Dettori are in fine form at present and they combine here with Royal Artillery. For a lightly raced 4 year old he possesses some really strong form from last season. He won a Group 3 at Haydock where he beat subsequent Group 3 winners Scottish and Arab Spring, he then went on to Deauville and ran a blinder only 2¼ lengths behind Almanzor. Based on that form and with ground conditions looking to suit him more than last years winner My Dream Boat, he has to go close.

2:55 bet365 Classic Trial (Group 3) – Monarchs Glen (10/11)

The battle of the Frankels. Out of the three of them it’s clear to see that Monarchs Glen is open to the most improvement, he put his latest race at Kempton to bed in a matter of strides and stayed on strongly to the line. This will likely be the fastest ground he has been on but that shouldn’t be an issue I would expect him to improve past his rivals.

3:30 bet365 Mile (Group 2) – Dawn Of Hope (5/1)

This looks like a really competitive race that could go the way of any of them. But Dawn Of Hope is unexposed and wouldn’t need to find much improvement to get the better of the favourite and her Doncaster conquerer Kool Kompany. It pays to look near the top of the market as no horse bigger than 5/1 has won this race in 13 years and receiving weight from the field, Dawn Of Hope looks the value option.

4:05 bet365.com Handicap – Queen In Waiting (5/2)

Queen In Waiting beat Nuclear Power off level weights on just her second start and that one is now rated 98. She won her reappearance comfortably off a mark of 80 and has a 6lb penalty to contend with today, but she should be well capable of defying that and I think she is probably a Listed class horse racing in a handicap.

4:35 Nordoff Robbins Sir George Martin Memorial Maiden Fillies’ Stakes – Neshmeya (5/2)

This is a tough race to call with them all being unexposed and some unraced, but of what we have got to go on Neshmeya looks like the pick. The form of her two runs last season is stacking up well, with Talaayeb who she was second to on debut a general 14/1 shot for the 1,000 Guineas. She then wasn’t too far behind Shutter Speed in October who cemented her Oaks claims a week ago.

5:10 bet365 Handicap – Century Dream (9/2)

It took Century Dream three efforts to get off the mark, but the form of his second attempt looks strong with the winner going on to run a respectable fifth in the Greenham. His maiden win has already been franked with the third and fourth both winning since and with Andrea Atzeni on board I think he could be overpriced. He really appreciated the step up to a mile last time and so this extra couple of furlongs should play to his strengths.

Saturday 22nd April – Ayr and Newbury

1.40 Ayr – Minella On Line (16/1 Each Way)
This handicap is obviously competitive with so many of these having won on multiple occasions this season, but Minella On Line is 2-2 when completing for Oliver Sherwood and the last of those wins was as easy as you like. On his penultimate start he was still travelling well when unseating alongside the very useful Royal Vacation and looked to be giving that one a bit to think about that day. If he stays on his feat then he looks like a decent each way bet.

2.45 Ayr – Sceau Royal (9/1 Each Way)
I just think Sceau Royal is way overpriced here. He ran in the Champion Hurdle last time out when Alan King’s horses weren’t firing and he lines up in what is a handicap with a 10lb claimer on board. So effectively he is competing off a mark of 145, which is mental. He won the Elite Hurdle comfortably at the start of the season before not being able to quicken on the soft ground in the Fighting Fifth. He may find a couple too good but on sheer ability he looks worth a go.

3.20 Ayr – Mixboy (9/1 Each Way)
If Double W’s is in the same mood as when winning the Red Rum at Aintree then I think he will be hard to stop off just 5lb higher. But it could be worth taking a chance on Mixboy who was running well before rapidly fading over two and a half miles at the Cheltenham Festival and this drop back to two miles should be in his favour. He impressed in three starts before that by winning comfortably on each occasion, this is a big step up but he’s a decent price.

3.55 Ayr: Scottish Grand National – Alvarado (22/1 Each Way)
Now this is by no means a confident selection, as it is a Grand National after all. But with Alvarado you know what you are going to get, he was second in this last year off 6lb higher. He has also been fourth in not one but two Aintree Grand National’s and off a low weight, you never know!

4.30 Ayr – The Dutchman (6/1 Each Way)
Another competitive handicap where many of these have plenty of wins to their names, The Dutchman hasn’t won many races but has been model of consistency. He has been over fences this season and has been okay, nothing more than that and his form is solid. But over hurdles last season he beat No Comment who is now rated 137 (the same as The Dutchman is today) and was subsequently second in a Grade 2 behind Le Prezien. Those runs are of interest and the booking of Nico de Boinville is eye-catching. He was 9/1 when I was looking at the race last night so he has clearly been backed which is a good sign.

1.55 Newbury – Crimean Tatar (11/2 Each Way)
To be honest I’d like to see Midterm win, as horses with pedigree’s such as his should be winning Group 3s. However, he picked up an injury during the Dante and wasn’t as good as I thought he would be in the Champion Stakes. Therefore Crimean Tatar looks more attractive at the prices. He made his belated debut in a Newmarket maiden in July on fast ground and couldn’t have been more impressive in winning by seven lengths, then in winning a Listed race at Kempton showed he could be something special.

2.30 Newbury – Dabyah (5/4)
John Gosden’s yard are in flying form at the moment and after Daban won the Nell Gwyn so well this week, connections may have two 1,000 Guineas hopes if Dabyah wins today. She won her first two races easily before finishing third in the Prix Marcel Boussac behind Wuheida (who was my fancy for the Guineas before she suffered a setback) and that form has been boosted with the fourth winning a Group 3 in France last week.

3.05 Newbury – Barney Roy (7/2)
A few of these are very lightly raced so it is a bit tricky, but Barney Roy won his maiden nicely and the second and third have both won since. Zainhom was second in a Group 3 at the end of last season and is the highest rated which makes him look a little overpriced at 6/1. Dream Castle is a Frankel who like many others won his maiden with ease and could be anything.

3.40 Newbury – Donncha (8/1 Each Way)
It seems that I’m starting to follow this horse off a cliff, but he deserves to land one of these big handicaps. His third in the Lincoln last time is a good piece of form and this firmer ground is sure to suit him.

Saturday 15th April

4:40 Musselburgh: What’s The Story (11/4)

War Of Succession is a very short price for this but Andrew Balding hasn’t flown out of the gate at the start of this campaign and with the yard not fully firing I’m keen to take this favourite on. What’s The Story finished runner up on all three starts last season, but behind very useful rivals in Love Dreams, Montataire and Leontes. Currently rated 83 I wouldn’t be surprised if that was up into the nineties at the end of the season with this being the perfect start.

Aintree Day 2

Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle
Allee Bleue seems to either bomb out or perform well and I’m hoping he fancies it here. On his best form he should have a good shout, he got the better of Air Horse One (giving him almost a stone) last season who was fourth in this years County Hurdle. The aggregate margin of victory of his last two wins is 53 lengths, but he has also been beaten 114 lengths and 34 lengths this season. Nevertheless at 33/1 it doesn’t cost us much to find out if he’s on a going day. Harry Fry is in flying form at the moment with 6 wins from 16 runners in the last couple of weeks and he saddles Dashing Oscar in this. He began the campaign with two victories and followed them up with a third and a second behind subsequent winners. Off a mark of 132 he might be slightly underestimated and can give a good account of himself.

Selections – Allee Bleue (33/1 each way) Dashing Oscar (16/1 each way)

Top Novices’ Hurdle
Champion Bumper winner Moon Racer disappointed in the Champion Hurdle and given how difficult he clearly is to train I couldn’t be trusting him for this. The Unit has been consistent this year having racked up three wins, he deserves this step up but has to improve. Mount Mews has put in some breathtaking performances and really could be anything for Malcolm Jefferson. A 49-length winner of a Grade 2 last time out he gave us a glimpse of what he could be. Nicky Henderson has won 5 of the last 7 renewals and his Supreme runners tend to be the ones to side with in this. River Wylde finished third at Cheltenham, the same as Buveur D’air last year who went on to win this. This flat track should suit him along with the ground. After much deliberation I have tentatively sided with the potential as opposed to the proven, but I may be wrong.

Selection – Mount Mews (3/1)

Mildmay Novices’ Chase
I’m not going to spend very long on this, Might Bite, Might Bite, and Might Bite again. He was so good at Cheltenham despite losing concentration and I’ll be shocked if he’s beaten here. However, I’ll happily watch him win this unless a tasty distance bet grabs my attention.

JLT Melling Chase
Your choice in this contest probably comes down to what piece of form you value more, Champion Chase or Ryanair. This time around I am siding with the latter, I backed Sub Lieutenant at Cheltenham and he ran a great race in defeat. His form is so solid, he’s competed closely with Outlander, Djakadam and Sizing John this season and I’m thinking that if he produces a performance of that level that will be good enough to win. God’s Own made a howler two from home in the Champion Chase and won this race last year so obviously is one to consider, alongside Fox Norton who rattled home last month and based on that this step up in distance should suit him.

Selection – Sub Lieutenant (3/1)

Topham Handicap Chase
You could make a case for most of these and I have already given words for Go Conquer and Third Intention so I’m going to stand my ground and stick with them. The former ran well in the Ultima at Cheltenham and this drop back in trip will probably suit him, he also wears a first time tongue tie. Last time he raced over this distance he was a neck behind Present Man who has since won twice, including a Grade 2. Third Intention has Aintree form reading 4231 and is 7lb lower than when third in this race last year. He has had a muddling season with runs over fences, hurdles and a couple of spins on Cheltenham’s Cross Country track and I’m hoping he can rediscover some form back at this track over the national fences.

Selections – Go Conquer (8/1 each way) Third Intention (20/1 each way)

Sefton Novices’ Hurdle
West Approach has had a long season with some tough races and I think he was feeling the effects of that in the Stayers Hurdle last time out so I believe some of his more lightly raced rivals will come to the fore. The Worlds End was travelling really well when coming down at the second last in the Albert Bartlett, if that hasn’t left its mark then you would think based on his 9 length defeat of No Hassle Hoff he can go close here. In falling at Cheltenham he severely hampered Constantine Bay who lost all chance but stayed on really well to be fourth. He wasn’t travelling as well as his reopposing rival that day and only beat No Hassle Hoff by a head at Doncaster so based on collateral form has a bit to find with the favourite. Beyond Conceit was outpaced in the Supreme and is drastically upped in trip, he wears a hood for the first time which should help him settle.

Selection – The Worlds End (5/2)

Bumper
Claimantakinforgan was third in the Champion Bumper and he should give another good account of himself for Nicky Henderson, but he has already had four runs this season and he has many lightly raced rivals to contend with here. Black Op was ahead of him at Doncaster, albeit receiving weight. He won his first point to point and comes into this fresh. As does If The Cap Fits who scored comfortably at Taunton, but I do wonder what he beat that day. If continuing to progress then he might be slightly overpriced.

Selection – Black Op (4/1)

Aintree Day 1

Manifesto Novices’ Chase
A small but select field sees the runner ups from the Arkle and JLT go head to head. Cloudy Dream’s effort behind Altior really was admirable and he was only out-sped after the final fence and this step up in distance may see him to good affect. Top Notch has been busy this season and this will be his seventh run, his best performance was when he ran out a ready winner of the Grade 1 Scilly Isles at Sandown and is a worthy favourite. Racking up six wins from eight efforts this campaign, Frodon has been a lucrative money-pot for Paul Nicholls and having skipped Cheltenham will be fresh for this. Flying Angel was terribly unluckily in the JLT by being badly hampered by a faller and lost all chance from there. Max Ward won well at Kempton last time but this is a huge step up and Cyrus Moriviere hasn’t completed the course in his four chase starts.

Selection – Cloudy Dream (3/1)

4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle
This race is probably very simple, Defi Du Seuil wins. He isn’t a betting proposition though so it’s probably better to look at the without markets. Forth Bridge skipped Cheltenham and comes here fresh on the back of two victories, in the latter win he had Project Bluebook 1¼ lengths back in third. That one was 5½ lengths behind Flying Tiger and Divin Bere in the Fred Winter so the Queen’s horse does have a bit to find on collateral form, but is very generously priced. A 5lb swing in the weights should see the Fred Winter form reversed between Divin Bere and Flying Tiger. Bedrock was behind the latter in the Adonis receiving weight so he has plenty to find and it looks like the remainder of the field are very much up against it.

Selection – Divin Bere W/O Defi Du Seuil (1/1)

Betway Bowl
Cue Card fell in the Gold Cup last year and bolted up in this race and bids to do the same again here, but I believe he needs a bit of cut now and this good ground may not suit him. Empire Of Dirt didn’t run his race in the Ryanair and if back to his Irish Gold Cup form where he was second to Sizing John he should go close here. Aso was ahead of the Gigginstown horse at Cheltenham and this increase in trip shouldn’t be a problem and the fact he is eight times the price doesn’t make sense. Silviniaco Conti is a duel winner of this race and back at this track on decent ground I think he could outrun his odds and roll back the years. Tea For Two wasn’t beaten far in the King George and if reproducing that could hit the frame, Smad Place hasn’t been at it this season and Bristol De Mai would have been closer in the Gold Cup had he not have belted the final fence.

Selection – Silviniaco Conti (9/1)

Aintree Hurdle
Another race low in quantity and Buveur D’air should win this after being mightily impressive in the Champion Hurdle. My Tent Or Yours and The New One were behind that day and it’s very hard to envisage them getting any closer here. Identity Thief hasn’t particularly taken to chasing, two wins were followed by a couple of non finishes and he was subsequently fourth last time out. A return to hurdles might be the best option but I doubt he is anywhere near as good as the favourite. Old Guard is very much up against it here so I have fallen upon Rashaan. A stand-out performance this year was when he beat Apple’s Jade and Petit Mouchoir at Down Royal, those two may not have been tuned up for that but nonetheless it was a good race. He will like the ground and may well run better than his odds suggest.

Selection – Rashaan W/O Buveur D’air (15/2)

Foxhunters’ Chase
I will take two against the field in this race. On The Fringe was given a lot to do at Cheltenham and I’m hoping he can improve on that and win this for the third year running. As an each way angle I like the chances of Distime who has Katy Walsh on board. He was fourth in the Topham last year and has also finished second three times at the track.

Selections – On The Fringe (2/1) Distime (20/1 each way)

Red Rum Handicap Chase
Due to there being 15 runners, we are only getting the 3 places which is a right kick in the teeth. My first selection is Double W’s who faded into ninth late on at Cheltenham and this return to two miles will suit him perfectly along with the good ground. He ran well off this mark at Doncaster in January and should give another good account of himself. Gino Trail may be a 10 year old but he is very lightly raced and has been superb this season. He has racked up three wins and has produced seconds to Buveur D’air, Zamdy Man and Flying Angel. Going from the front he serves it up to his rivals and might be hard to peg back.

Selections – Double W’s (7/1) Gino Trail (14/1)

Mares Bumper
Daphne Du Clos and Cap Soleil have both been very impressive this season but unfortunately don’t figure here. The next best behind them looks to be Petticoat Tails for Warren Greatrex. She won her first two starts before coming up against a superbly judged Paddy Brennan ride on Cap Soleil at Sandown to deny her a hat-trick. Cheekpieces are applied for the first time here and might help her travel a little bit better, but she does find plenty for pressure. Irish Roe and Shearling have both won three of their fourth starts and will probably give the selection most to do.

Selection – Petticoat Tails (3/1)

3:55 Doncaster – Adwick Kingpin Condition Stakes (Class 2, 1m4f)

One of the horses that I’m going to be following this season is Frontiersman, mainly because his pedigree is second to none: Dubawi x Ouija Board. He was a bit inconsistent last year, but both wins came on good to firm ground and I think he really needs a quick surface to be seen at his best. I’m not sure the ground is fast enough today, but I would watch out for him this season on quick ground.

Muntahaa was last seen finishing fourth in the St Leger which is obviously strong form. Prior to that he won a Listed contest at Chester where he just held on over 1m5½f and I think this drop back to a mile and a half will help him as he wears a hood so can obviously be quite keen so this shorter drip should suit. His third in the King Edward VII at Royal Ascot is good form and this is a drop in class.

Tawdeea had a busy season last year and finished if off creditably with a fifth in the November Handicap at this track and this is his trip. However, he competed predominantly in handicaps last season and this is a different ball game but certainly has place claims.

Seconditis is extremely painful for a punter, but it must be even worse for connections and Chemical Charge suffered from it big time last year. Five runs yielded five runner up spots, which must have been infuriating. Form tying in with Sir Isaac Newton is solid and he does receive weight from all bar one of his rivals today.

Maleficent Queen racked up a five win streak between May 2015 – May 2016 but she stepped up to pattern company thereafter and couldn’t compete so even this is probably asking too much.

The outsider is Saigon City who to his credit has some half decent form in the book behind Lightning Spear and Antiquarium. He’s dropping back from 2 miles which is interesting, seems overpriced but obviously very much up against it.

Selection: Muntahaa
Watch out for: Tawdeea

The Flat Season Returns

The flat is well and truly back and we’ve got decent cards at Doncaster and Kempton to get stuck into. We don’t know whether horses have trained on or if they’re fully fit so I would suggest keeping stakes low.

1:50 Doncaster – Tupi (10/1) Each Way
A muddling race where I’ll give a slight word for Tupi. On his day he is a very good horse, but its rare he has his day and I think first time out could be the time to catch him. Ryan Moore is on board and the last time they paired up was first time out last year where he went down a neck to Magical Memory at York which is strong form.

2:25 Doncaster – Sacred Act (5/1)
A competitive handicap which could go to any number of them. However, Sacred Act is extremely unexposed for John Gosden. He was off for 499 days and won nicely at Sandown on his only start last season and can definitely continue to improve. A second to Lightening Spear on his penultimate start is strong form and with Andrea Atzeni on board you’ve got the best jockey around Doncaster.

3:35 Doncaster – Donncha (8/1) Each Way
Donncha was competing in many of the big handicaps last season but kept coming up short. HIs strongest pieces of form are when he was third to Franklin D at Goodwood and then proceeded to be ninth in the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot on Champions Day. The latter result doesn’t reflect his performance as he was mounting his challenge when really badly hampered and had no chance after that.

2:05 Kempton – Linguistic (7/2)
I’m taking a chance with Linguistic by hoping his gelding operation will help him. He was marginally beaten by Viren’s Army at Chester last season but I think he can turn that form around. Absolute Blast has been running very consistently but my thinking that the quality of the races she has been competing in aren’t anywhere near as good as this contest.

2:40 Kempton – Justice Good (8/1) Each Way
Justice Good has definitely improved since being gelded, with form figures reading 3126. I’m willing to forgive the latest run as he didn’t get a smooth passage throughout the race and was caught too far back and wide round the bend. The win came at this track and he did it well, he is 6lb higher than that but he should run his race.

3:15 Kempton – Prince Of Arran (8/1) Each Way
It’s hard to get away from Prince Of Arran here considering his course record of three wins from four attempts. Last time he was fourth at this track in what was a strong listed race and this drop in class should see him in better light.