The Easter weekend is a big one for racing with a wide variety of meetings and races. That variety is on show on Saturday with a combination of Flat racing at Musselburgh and National Hunt racing at Haydock. Both courses have some very competitive races scheduled so there are some great chances to beat the bookies with this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.
1:50 Betway Musselburgh Silver Arrow Handicap
Class 3, 7f
There is some very competitive racing at Musselburgh on Saturday but the first race of the card to be broadcast by ITV Racing can go the way of the favourite, Stone Soldier. When Archie Watson welcomed him to his yard in December he appeared to have a tough job ahead to return him to winning ways after a run of three disappointing performances suggested that the handicapper had his measure. However, the change in surroundings did something potentially profound to Stone Soldier who won his first two starts at Southwell for his new yard.
He was once again disappointing on his third start (which also came at Southwell) but rather than be put off by that, the decision was taken to send him for a gelding operation. He got into a prominent position next time out and was much better placed to kick for home which he did so impressively. He runs off the same mark of 91 at Musselburgh as he did at Southwell and the good to soft ground he’ll encounter on his return to the turf won’t be a problem so back Stone Soldier is primed to get the ITV Racing off to a winning start for punters at odds of 3/1.
2:05 Betway Challenger Two Mile Hurdle Series Final Handicap
Class 2, 1m7½f
Harry Skelton pulled clear with Brian Hughes in the race to be crowned this season’s champion jockey on Thursday and he has a number of rides at Haydock on Saturday as he looks to pull clear. Vision Du Puy could be one of the best backed of all of those rides.
The JP McManus-owned six year old was in desperate need of a couple of runs when she made her return to the course after an absence of 405 days. The market supported her for a couple of runs which were a long way below her earlier in the year but those who stuck with her were rewarded in March when she won at Stratford at 13/2. The handicapper has penalised her for that return to form but Vision Du Poy is still lower than her mark in the back end of 2019 and she can take advantage with another win at 2/1.
2:25 Betway Royal Mile Handicap
Class 2, 1m
At this time of the year, there is always a lot of uncertainty around. The ground is starting to get a bit firmer and a huge number of horses are making their first run in some time. Heights Of Abraham is just one such horse making its seasonal debut at Musselburgh on Saturday. There are questions about how good he will be on his first run since October but none about his suitability to the sort of good to soft ground that he’ll encounter.
Keith Dalgleish’s colt won his maiden at on soft ground Musselburgh last season when stepped up to seven furlongs for the first time and subsequently won over a mile on his final race of the campaign on good to soft at Doncaster. Jockey, Shane Gray, said that he was looking forward to Heights Of Abraham as a three year old when he is a bit more mature and he can start his campaign with a big run in the Royal Mile Handicap at a price of 15/2.
2:40 Betway Challenger Staying Chase Series Final Handicap Chase
Class 2, 3m1½f
Debece is another well-fancied ride for Harry and Dan Skelton at Haydock. The 10 year old looked as though he was going to win on his debut for the Skeltons last time out at Sandown a couple of weeks ago but made a mistake at the second last and soon ran out of steam. The expectation is that he will come on for that run and while he may do just that he does look a little short at 4/1 off a slightly higher mark of 132.
Crossley Tender could be the one to get the favourite beaten. The eight year old has consistently been earning for Paul Henderson having run consistently well over the course of a busy season. He has the staying ability to be a potential Grand National horse next season but for now, Crossley Tender is well suited to this race and is a good price at 6/1.
3:00 Betway Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap
Class 2, 5f
The draw for the Scottish Sprint Handicap was always going to have an impact on the betting and it was little surprise to see the money start to come for Zarzyni after he was placed in stall 12 as a high draw is much preferred to a low one.
The four year old bumped into some classy and, crucially, race-fit rivals when finishing third on the all-weather at Wolverhampton last month. He was keen that day and although he was just unable to hang on to his prominent position inside the final furlong, David Barron will be very happy with his new recruit’s run. Barron has a reputation for being smart with the way he places his horses so Zarzyni looks well worth following at Musselburgh at a tempting price of 11/2.
3:15 Betway Challenger Stayers Hurdle Series Final Handicap Hurdle
Class 2, 3m½f
Nicer ground has been the key to unlocking the best performances out of Regarding Ruth and that is what she’ll get on Saturday. The temperatures are set to fall off quite considerably over the weekend but there is no rain in the forecast in the Merseyside area so it should be like proper spring ground for those contesting the Stayers Hurdle Series Final.
Regarding Ruth turned in the best performance of her career to date on good ground at Newbury last time out and Lucy Wadham is right to be hopeful of even more to come at Haydock. That sort of run would more than account for her rise of eight pounds by the handicapper and could well account for the competition which is led by Small Present so back Regarding Ruth at 11/2.
3:35 Betway Queen’s Cup
Class 2, 1m6f
The Queen’s Cup is a very nice way to end the day’s live racing on ITV. Despite the reduction in prize money this year, the maximum field of 14 has been assembled and it looks as though it’s going to be a very competitive affair.
That much is reflected in the betting with Nate The Great, Trumpet Man, Themaxwecan and Cardano all available at less than 8/1. Only one of the five previous winners of this renewal went off shorter than 8/1 though so an each way bet on a longer odds option is the play here. The best option in that regard could well be Alright Sunshine who is making a return to the Flat having been run over hurdles in what appears to have been a way of keeping him fit without troubling his mark of 99. Keith Dalgleish’s six year old is nicely handicapped and has what it takes to win this staying contest.