• Fri 20 May, 2022
  • 15:12 BST
  • 11:12 EST (BST-4)
  • 17:12 CEST (BST+2)

Five to follow on Saturday

Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Doncaster, Aintree and Wincanton on Saturday. View selections below.

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BIRDS OF PREY (3.15) is well treated in the Marathonbet November Handicap at Doncaster, especially if a recent wind operation proves successful. Paul Nicholls’ gelding has been off the track since August but enjoys a 13lb pull with well-fancied Buzz on their running at Kempton in May. Birds of Prey scored on soft and heavy for John Oxx in Ireland, so conditions should be fine.

Royal Line was sent off favourite 12 months ago and returns from a 199-day absence for another crack. He dropped away disappointingly to finish seventh after hitting the front a furlong out and is higher in the ratings. The race was won by heavily-backed Saunter and the same colours are carried this year by Reshoun, given a nice break following a Haydock success in the mud 63 days ago.

Charlie Appleby saddles Wolf Country with a big chance, while the William Haggas-trained three-year-old My Lord And Master ran a cracker over a shorter trip at York.

With heavy overnight rain forecast there could be a spate of non-runners, so watch your bets. CRYSTAL HOPE (1.30) has a bit to do on official ratings in the Marathonbet Fillies Stakes, a Listed contest over 1m 2f, but she is the one likely to handle conditions at an each-way price. Sir Michael Stoute’s filly found 1m 4f stretching her stamina when fading into the pack behind Lady Bergamot here in September but she scored at Sandown in April (good to soft) over a shorter distance. Maid To Remember had Queen Of Time just behind when they filled the places behind Scottish Jig at Newmarket last month. That is superior form but they haven’t been tested on soft ground.

The Listed Wentworth Stakes looks wide open, with Librisa Breeze bidding to erase the memory of a poor run behind Sands Of Mali at Ascot on Champions’ Day. Donjuan Triumphant finished an excellent third that day and is probably the form pick. Time will tell if his exposed stall 16 position is the place to be and LAUGH A MINUTE (2.05) is preferred. An improving three-year-old won the race 12 months ago and Roger Varian’s gelding was last seen finishing runner-up in a Group 3 at Deauville. He landed the big Sales race here last September.

KING’S ODYSSEY (2.40) is interesting in the feature handicap chase at Aintree. Evan Williams’ gelding was placed regularly in higher grade last season, bowing out with his customary solid third to The Storyteller at the Cheltenham Festival in March. He has winning form on heavy so any rain will be welcomed by connections.

Wincanton hosts its popular Badger Ales Trophy meeting and last year’s winner PRESENT MAN (3.35) can make another bold bid under regular rider Bryony Frost. Paul Nicholls’s top weight has 2lb more to carry but with some heavy showers forecast, the track could be riding very similar to 12 months ago (soft) when Present Man led or disputed throughout. He doesn’t have the benefit of a prep race this year but goes well fresh. Nicholls also saddles well-touted El Bandit, but this one prefers a sound surface. The race has a nice each-way shape to it if all 16 runners stand their ground and it’s hard to see Present Man being out of the frame.

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