The two high class jumps meetings at Warwick and Newbury have fallen foul of the weather this week and have swiftly been rescheduled to allow some potential stars of the Cheltenham Festival to get a high class run under their belts.
It’s a shame not to see those big names in action on Saturday as it is that one of the original replacement meetings at Chelmsford was also cancelled. There is still hope that Lingfield will pass an inspection on Saturday morning so there is some racing to enjoy and we’ve gone through the live races to pick out our best betting tips.
Due to yet further late changes, ITV have added four races from Ireland to Saturday’s schedule and so we’ve also got some tips from Naas to throw into the mix.
1:40 BBA Ireland Limited Opera Hat Mares Chase
Class 1, 2m
The third race of the card from Naas is the first to be covered by the ITV cameras and there is a red-hot favourite in the shape of Elimay.
Just five go to post and whilst Shattered Love cannot be wholly ruled out, even at short odds, it has to be the jolly for us. Second last time out on her seasonal return, the JP McManus mare should strip fitter here and get the job done against a small field.
2:00 Get Your Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boost Handicap
Class 3, 6f
Just four horses go to post in the first Lingfield race covered by ITV Racing. Four is sometimes enough to have a competitive race and that looks to be the case for this six furlong handicap. The bookies are correct in pricing the race as though any of the four could win and it should be close as these three year olds head to the line.
There is certainly some very good form coming into the race with three of the four having won at their last two races at least. Secret Handsheikh and Charlie Fellowes have both looked like horses on the up in their recent runs but their best runs have come on the slower surface at Southwell. The quicker pace at Lingfield should play to the strengths of Water Of Leith who won easily last time out and is a real danger on his handicap debut at 11/8.
2:15 Naas Handicap Chase
This looks a really open affair and there are a good number of these in with a real chance. The one we like best of all though is the seven year old mare, Sovereign Gold.
Without a win in her four starts (two over hurdles, two over fences), this lightly raced sort has proved very consistent thus far, yet to finish outside the top five. With Rachael Blackmore in fine fettle right now she can break her duck here against relatively weak opposition and 9/2 looks big.
2:35 Bombardier British-Hopped Amber Beer Handicap
Class 4, 1m
When Crackling won at Lingfield on his debut performance his jockey, Rob Hornby was enthused enough to say that he should kick on to be a smart performer. As so often in horse racing though, things did not go to plan and Crackling wasn’t seen back on track for almost another year. He has shown enough signs of progressing for the bookies to make him the favourite for this one mile handicap but the mount of Ryan Moore may just find that Apex King is too well treated by the handicapper.
There was a real danger that the seven year old’s career was fizzling out which prompted connections to make a change in trainer. That decision has already started to bear fruit with a couple of improved runs from Apex King for David Loughnane. He’s never been a prolific winner but Apex King is just two pounds worse off than when winning at Lingfield over a mile last summer thanks to the three pounds that jockey Luke Morris claims so his new yard may well be celebrating an important win for which Apex King is 5/1.
2:50 Naas Rated Novice Hurdle
Unfortunately, it is another small field up next for this Novice hurdle for four year olds only. Six go to post but with Freds Honour out with the washing at 200/1, this is really a five horse race.
It should prove an open contest but the favourite will take all the stopping and at 13/8, Autumn Evening offers solid value. The gelding was a winning favourite back in December and can claim glory once again here on ground that should suit.
3:10 Betway Casino Handicap
Class 5, 1m2f
While we’re hoping for a big run from Apex King in the previous race at Lingfield, the form of Capla Crusader is a reminder than the upturn in form that a change in trainer can bring is by no means guaranteed to last. He won on his first start having swapped from Mark Johnsont to Nick Littmoden’s care but results subsequently tailed off considerably. Something similar may be about to happen after earning his first win for Chris Dwyer last time out on what was just his second start for new connections.
While the bookies very much rate Capla Crusader’s chances making him the 7/2 second favourite, the horse just below him in the betting, Convertible, is the one to side with at 4/1. The four year old is one of five rides for Ryan Moore at Lingfield on Saturday and has to be up there with his best chances. Convertible has turned in two strong performances in a row without winning. That suggests he is on the up but meant the handicapper has pretty much left him alone. A mark of 70 should not prevent him from converting this strong chance for Moore.
3:25 Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle
80-109 (4YO+), 1m7f
The last of the Naas contests to feature on Saturday’s live coverage is not one to be piling into, with 21 set to go to post and the majority of those in with at least a fighting chance.
It’s a tough puzzle but we think the market has this about right, with second favourite Djasek our pick here. This son of Rip Van Winkle is yet claim a win but was a really good second last time out at 20/1 and looked like he could improve yet further. An each way saver on Rock Chica (16/1) may also be a wise move.
3:45 Betway Handicap
Class 5, 6f
Lingfield’s Saturday card comes to an end with another competitive handicap but this time over just six furlongs. Those who believe in fate will be backing the favourite Inevitable Outcome at 3/1 and there was enough to like about his performance last time out when going down by just a head to justify his lofty position in the market. This is an open-looking contest though and it may pay to go down the each way betting route instead.
Top weight Garth Rockett has the class to be a serious player here but there just isn’t enough in his price of 9/2 to get excited about. It’s a different story for Save The Spirit (7/1) and Real Estate (12/1) who each make solid each way appeal. It’s the latter who gets the nod though as he has multiple wins at Lingfield to his name and is entitled to come on for his first run for six months at the end of January.