Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with nine to follow on Saturday at Musselburgh, Haydock, Carlisle and Kempton. View selections below
Something for everyone this Easter weekend in the world of racing with decent flat action on turf and the all-weather and the Irish Grand National on Monday the jumps highlight from Fairyhouse.
The ITV cameras are at Musselburgh and Haydock and we begin in Scotland where their feature is the valuable 1m 6f Handicap and the hope is that Iain Jardine has Shrewd (3.35) fit and well returning from a six-month break. The selection finished runner-up in the Ebor from a 1lb lower mark last season and useful apprentice Lewis Edmunds takes off a valuable 5lbs.
If the selection can get a decent pitch at the first bend then I feel he must go close although the betting will tell us just how ready he is for his reappearance. The selection is 8/1 at BetVictor and he is taken to reward each way support.
Mark Johnston has his first two-year-old runner of the season and his Washeek (4.05) is taken to make a winning debut for the yard. The stable won this corresponding race two years ago with Mukhmal who went on to win at Chester before disappointing at Royal Ascot. The selection receives 4lbs from the Brocklesby winner Requinto Dawn but he is not the only danger given there are any number of speedily bred newcomers in the field including Excellently Poised who runs in the colours of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Andrew Balding’s War Of Succession (4.40) makes the long journey north from his Kingsclere base looking to break his maiden tag and he should oblige at the fourth time of asking. The selection’s second to Lord Dancealot at Kempton back in September is useful juvenile form and he can see off the challenge of Keith Dalglieish’s What’s The Story who finished runner-up in all three starts as a 2-year-old.
At Haydock the opening 2m 4f Handicap Chase is a cracker with plenty of chances – my two against the field are Cerunnos in his first time tongue-tie for Tom George and Barry Geraghty and the 11-year-old Monetaire (2.05) with preference going to the David Pipe-trained runner. The selection ran an excellent race at Stratford behind Some Buckle coming back from a long lay-off at the beginning of the month and he is 8lbs better off with that rival.
Monetaire finished runner-up at the Cheltenham Festival two years ago and can race from a 6lbs lower mark this afternoon. The selection is 12/1 at BetVictor and is another each way selection in a terrific and ultra-competitive event.
Adrian Heskin takes over on Stamp Your Feet (3.15) for the first time since the selection got up in the shadows of the post at Hereford back in December. The recommendation needs an end-to-end gallop at this trip and I am convinced he will get further in time. The selection runs in the colours of JP McManus whose retained rider Barry Geraghty partners Midnight Maestro although it should be noted that Geraghty struggles to do the 10st 3lbs that the Stamp Your Feet is set to carry.
I hope the ground isn’t too quick for Conquer Gold (4.55) who jumped well when making all at Bangor last time. The selection has a bit to find with Actinpieces and Two Smokin Barrels on earlier running but she looked one to follow in north Wales last time and her sound jumping should be an asset this afternoon. Do note there is rain forecast for the Haydock area on Good Friday.
The Grand National winning combination of Derek Fox and Lucinda Russell did us a favour a week ago and they team up with Kilbree Chief (5.30) in the finale although the selection is another who is unproven on fast ground and he will certainly welcome any Friday rain.
At Carlisle if the ground is good or better then I feel Bailey’s Concerto (3.25) is handicapped to run a big race coming back from a three-month break. The selection gets on particularly well with jockey Brian Hughes and he can run from the same mark as when runner up at Aintree back in December.
At Kempton Laugh Aloud (3.45) can give John Gosden listed success in the Snowdrop Stakes despite conceding 3lbs to her ten rivals