Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Haydock and Kempton on Saturday. View selections below.
Malcolm Jefferson saddled a double at Haydock earlier this week and CARD GAME (1.35) can reel off a hat-trick by lifting the ApolloBet Mares’ Hurdle Final on an afternoon of rich pickings at the Lancashire track.
Card Game has looked every inch a stayer by grinding out victories at Market Rasen and Sedgefield since the turn of the year and the seven-year-old hasn’t a lot of mileage on the clock. She wore down Harry Fry’s Secret Door and the Warren Greatex-trained Miss Estela at Market Rasen, with 17 lengths back to the re-opposing Alizee De Janeiro. Card Game is on the upgrade.
With big fields the order of the day, each-way looks the way to play at nice prices in all the Challengers Series contests.
ApolloBet also sponsor the Stayers’ Hurdle Final and CALEDONIA (2.35) is on a handy racing weight of 10st 9lb following his Ayr victory over strong-travelling Octagon, another chasing this tasty pot. Jim Goldie’s gelding handles muddy conditions so the forecast rain will be welcomed by connections.
TEO VIVO (3.45) is one of a number of horses worth considering in the Two-Mile Hurdle Final. Pauline Robson has got a great tune out of her grey this winter and Teo Vivo was rewarded for some excellent efforts in defeat by repelling Jonny Delta in last month’s Musselburgh qualifier.
Today’s weights are tipped slightly in favour of Jonny Delta but whether he will repeat that effort away from his beloved Musselburgh is open to doubt.
Kempton’s traditional Easter fixture features a nice mix of old and new, with the opening two races confined to unraced juveniles. Sticking with the older brigade, STEELRIVER (3.25) travels south from David Barron’s Yorkshire base with a solid chance in the six-furlong handicap.
The gelding’s last visit to the track resulted in an excellent third to classy Lancelot Du Luc back in October (when trained by Michael Herrington) and Steelriver arrives on the back of a neck defeat at the hands of rejuvenated Zac Brown at Wolverhampton earlier this month. Graham Gibbons, on his only mount, can exploit a handy draw in stall three.
The two-mile handicap appears wide open and an each-way punt on the consistent, if quirky, DUCHESS OF MARMITE (4.35) should yield a profit.
Richard Hughes has done well with the filly, a dual Kempton winner over the winter, and Shane Kelly is accustomed to giving Duchess Of Marmite the kid gloves treatment as she needs to be produced right at the death. She has had a nice break since finishing fourth to Cotton Club at Chelmsford, a fortnight after being beaten on the nod at Dundalk.
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