Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Doncaster and Wincanton on Saturday. View selections below.
JACK DEXTER (2.25) will revel in muddy conditions on Town Moor and is a confident choice to land back-to-back runnings of the Betfred ‘Goals Galore’ Wentworth Stakes. Jim Goldie’s sprinter returned to form on Champions Day at Ascot three weeks ago, only fading into third close home as Gordon Lord Byron squeezed through a gap to collar Tropics. Jack Dexter justified favouritism in this event 12 months ago, defying a 6lb penalty for an earlier Group 3 success in the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle, and he has no such burden on his back this time round. Tropics must concede 3lb to the Scottish raider and that may make the difference.
LEVITATE (1.50) was another winner on this corresponding card last year and with more rain forecast in the next 24 hours conditions will be right up his street. He hosed up by three lengths that day and races off a 3lb lower mark now. Levitate arrives in great nick on the back of an excellent fourth to Bronze Angel in the Balmoral Handicap on Champions day and always comes into his own at this time of the year. Athletic has kept his form remarkably well and looked unlucky at Lingfield last time when a daring burst up the far rail came unstuck due to traffic problems.
The Betfred November Handicap is always a fiercely competitive affair but HEADLINE NEWS (3.35) isn’t overburdened near the foot of the weights, with Jack Garritty taking off 5lb. Headline News couldn’t be in better heart, having landed a Newmarket handicap eight days ago. Rae Guest’s five-year-old probably struck the front too soon and was idling in the final furlong having been pushed clear. Headline News was value for a wider winning margin and goes well in the soft.
On a cracking jumps card at Wincanton, ROCK ON RUBY (3.15) and OPENING BATSMAN (2.40) can continue Harry Fry’s sizzling streak. The former contests the Stanjames.com Elite Hurdle, a tight Grade 2 limited handicap, and must concede weight all round. However, Rock On Ruby retains the class of a former Champion Hurdle winner and looked far more at home over the smaller obstacles than fences when almost landing the Aintree Hurdle in April. Melodic Rendezvous defied 11st 10lb last year, so class may prevail as long as the ground doesn’t deteriorate too much.
Opening Batsman was out for a duck on several occasions last term, with his form going all to pot. Consequently, he is well handicapped if Fry can ignite his old spark. Indeed, Opening Batsman’s mark is almost a stone lower than when landing the old Racing Post Chase in 2013. A less risky alternative, but not so rewarding, is last year’s winner Standing Ovation.
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