Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with seven to follow on Saturday at Ayr and Newbury. View selections below
After winning both Classic trials at Newmarket in the week Champion Trainer Richard Hannon turns his attentions to Newbury for further Guineas clues and his pair of Ivawood and Tiggy Wiggy both fancied to go close in the Greenham and Fred Darling respectively. Should the Hannon filly stay then she should have leading claims however it looks difficult for the speedster to see out an extra furlong, let alone two.
Tiggy Wiggy has been well-supported and is now 14/1 (From 20s) with BetVictor tor the first fillies’ classic of the season and even money for success this afternoon however neither attract at the prices. The daughter of Kodiac is unpenalised for her Group One success in last season’s Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket however a chance is taken on the unexposed Jellicle Ball (2.15) for John Gosden and Ryan Moore. The Invincible Spirit filly boasts a terrific pedigree and made a winning debut at Kempton, showing a smart turn of foot to win well under William Buick. She is 4/1 to be successful this afternoon, 33/1 for the1000 Guineas and 20/1 for the Oaks at Epsom.
Ivawood is similarly worth opposing at his price of 7/4 for the Greenham Stakes with Kevin Ryan’s colt Flaming Spear (2.50) is a fascinating runner and taking a massive step up in grade. The well-bred son of Lope De Vega was well-backed before making a winning debut at York in the summer, staying on strongly in the closing stages and winning well under Ryan Moore. He missed an intended engagement in the Gimcrack due to a setback however is open to any amounts pf improvement and is taken to reward each-way support in what appears on paper a wide-open renewal.
The Scottish National is the highlight of the National Hunt calendar at Ayr and Puffin Billy heads the field for the opener bidding to continue the excellent form of Grand National winning trainer Oliver Sherwood. I personally love the horse to bits however his optimum conditions appear to be going right-handed on soft ground and therefore preference lay with Runswick Royal (1.25) in receipt of 4lb. The 6-y-o has been a revelation over fences, winning at Newcastle on his return from a break in January and thriving for the step up in trip landing the Premier Chase at Kelso last time out and looks set to go in again under Brian Hughes.
Hughes partners Oscar Rock (2.00) in the G2 Champion Novices’ Chase and is a confident selection to complete the hat-trick for handler Malcolm Jefferson. The selection has missed both the Aintree and Cheltenham festivals with this race as his long-term intended target and is finally living up to the promise hinted at over timber. He finished second on his debut over fences when the stable were under a cloud, but has bounced back emphatically thereafter. The application of blinkers has seen him score at Newcastle and Kelso and he can land the hat-trick for connections.
Benvolio’s late defection means Champion Jockey AP McCoy is without a ride for the feature Scottish National, where Sego Success (3.45) can continue trainer Alan King’s excellent record in the marathon contest. The Barbury Castle handler was successful in the race with Godsmejudge in 2013, who was also second in the race last term, and Sego Success follows a similar path having run with credit in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. The 7-y-o has taken well to fences beating subsequent Great Yorkshire Chase winner If In Doubt at Wetherby before following-up in a Listed Chase at Warwick and is a confident selection to reward each-way support with BetVictor paying Five Places on the race.
Duke of Navan (3.10) was deemed disappointing when turned-over at odds-on by Just Cameron at Ayr and Carlisle, however that form took a massive boost with the winner landing the hat-trick on his next start and Nicky Richards’ gelding looks potentially well-treated for the Listed Handicap Chase over the minimum trip. The selection was rated 148 over timber after winning the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso but was always going to come into his element over the larger obstacles. The son of Presenting should appreciate the forecast better ground and should hopefully prove much better than a 140-rated chaser.
There’s racing elsewhere at Thirsk with four competitive handicaps attracting stellar turn-outs and locally-based trainer David O’Meara well-represented with six runners on the card. The stable have started the season in magnificent form and So Beloved (3.20) can make a winning debut for the yard in the 7f handicap. Stable jockey Danny Tudhope opts to ride over stablemates Ingleby Angle and Frontier Fighter and the ex-Juddmonte cast-off looks another one of the Malton handler’s typical improver.