Saturday 24th March

2.05pm Newbury – Bells ‘N’ Banjos 1pt Win (10/1)

Dropped 3lbs which puts him back to his last winning mark, I think the handicapper has been a bit lenient with Bells ‘N’ Banjos here and he looks overpriced for a race of this nature. He hasn’t got his head in front since a pair of wins at Leicester at the start of last year but he was pitched into stronger races subsequently and drops back in class today. 8th in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and a fifth to Cogry at the same track in October are both good bits of form and if bouncing back from his disappointing run last time then I can see him out-running his odds.

2.15pm Bangor – Midnight Target 1pt Win (13/2)

Midnight Target has been an excellent addition to the chasing ranks for John Groucott, she has taken to the obstacles really impressively and jumps with great precision. Her novice form is strong in the context of this race, seconds to Modus, Hogan’s Height and Happy Diva all make her look well-handicapped even with a 9lb rise following last months Huntingdon victory. This is a tougher race but she’s tough and with her jumping a huge asset, can improve again.

3.35pm Doncaster – Dolphin Vista 1pt Each Way (25/1)

A deeply competitive renewal of the Lincoln as always where the three market leaders are bound to be popular given their respective profiles. But I’m going for a big price to cause an upset in Dolphin Vista, just like he did in the Cambridgeshire last season. Being a soft and heavy ground winner conditions will be no problem and there should be no shortage of pace on his side of the track with Hayadh drawn just 3 stalls down. He was fifth in the race last year off 3lbs higher but is actually better off on todays terms when taking in Jason Watson’s 7lb claim, he’s a top young jockey who’s been racking up the winners on the all-weather so is definite value for his claim.

5.35pm Newbury – Imperial Presence 2pts Win (4/1)

Not a regular to the track but when he does line up he has plenty of ability, not beaten far by Brain Power in a novice hurdle or Old Guard in a novice chase he’s raced against some more than useful rivals. He’s un-raced on soft ground but being by Presenting that shouldn’t be an issue today and he won this contest last season off just 1lb higher following a break so a repeat success looks on the cards with Richard Johnson in the saddle.

5.45pm Wolverhampton – Tavener 2pts Win (9/2)

Tavener has been keeping better company than this on his last couple of starts and was only beaten 2¾ lengths in a Class 3 last time so dropping back to a Class 5 he’s in calmer waters now. An out and out front runner there isn’t much pace in this race at all from what I can see and with an easy uncontested lead he has the best man for the job on board in Joe Fanning who is an excellent judge of pace. He could take plenty of pegging back if not pressured early on.


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