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Saturday Racing Tips: Kate Tracey thinks Romay should take all the beating

There is quality racing everywhere you look on Saturday with competitive fields across the board. Kelso hosts it’s most valuable meeting of the season and has been rewarded with some fascinating runners. I’ve picked out three races across three different fixtures for my best bets on Saturday so we’d best get into it.

Tamaroc looks well treated

Newbury is our first port of call with the second race on the card which is the Grade 3 Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase over 2m3f187y at 13:50. This is a wide-open contest where one runner in particular fits the trends best of all. That horse is Tamaroc Du Mathan for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden.

Recent renewals of the Greatwood Gold Cup would tell you that the race has a very good record for seven-year-olds firstly. Ideally, a horse should be rated between 143-149 with four or five runs under their belt that season. A horse doesn’t have to have run well last time out but it’s helpful if that run came about five weeks ago. Horses who are ridden in mid-division or further back are also favoured with all of the last five winners of this race being ridden with restraint.

Tamaroc Du Mathan is a seven-year-old who is rated 142 but that 1lb lower mark than ideal can be excused. He has only had two starts this season so he doesn’t have optimal conditioning for this race but he’s had one month to recover from his latest outing which is a positive. He didn’t run well last time out when fifth of eight in a Sandown handicap chase won by his stablemate Dolos.

Dolos had everything in his favour that day where he was winning the race for the third time in his career so defied the below par stable form at that time. Contrarily, Tamaroc Du Mathan did shape in the manner that so many Nicholls’ horses were at that time and weakened out of contention.

The yard has since recovered from their brief blip so more can be expected of Tamaroc Du Mathan this time around. He’s been given 4lb back by the handicapper and this will hopefully, be the race where we get to see the benefits of the wind operation he received prior to his last start.

I’m hoping he is ridden in mid-division again as he has been on his two starts this season. Paint The Dream and Amour De Nuit look the potential pace angles in the race with Glen Forsa also likely to go forwards. Hopefully, those pace angles will see this race go to a horse ridden with restraint yet again.

Romay’s class can come to the fore

Kelso is the feature meeting on Saturday and has attracted plenty of smart performers to its Scottish Borders location. One race in particular that looks hugely interesting is the Listed Premier Chase over 2m7f at 14:40.

I’m hoping that Espoir De Romay can prove his class with a dominant display. He is the highest rated horse in the contest with a mark of 160. However, even as the clear best horse in the race on ratings, he’s still able to receive 4lb from Windsor Avenue and 6lb from Nuts Well.

Espoir De Romay was a very exciting novice chaser last season, winning his chase debut in good style at Huntingdon. He then finished second behind Royale Pagaille under a penalty at Haydock in a Novices’ Chase- form that hasn’t worked out too badly you might say. He skipped Cheltenham and instead got back on the winning track at Leicester with another impressive display.

Those runs set him up nicely to take the step up in class in the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase where he was taking on the Marsh Novices’ Chase winner at Cheltenham, Chantry House.

Espoir De Romay looked to have Chantry House in trouble where he was two lengths ahead and still had plenty in the tank before a novicey fall at the second last. The fall meant that Chantry House could pick up the pieces and he ran out an easy winner by 32 lengths over Shan Blue in second. That form was rock-solid for the novice chasers last season and Espoir De Romay proved himself up to the best of them.

Of course, many will argue that Chantry House was probably feeling the effects of a long season and Aintree can often mislead when an unexposed, fresh horse bursts onto the graded scene. However, the visual impression Espoir De Romay left even prior to Aintree, made him a potential graded winner in waiting.

He returned this season with a run in the ever-likeable Listed Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase. Every year the contest at Carlisle produces star performers and Espoir De Romay was sent off as the 2/1 favourite for the race. After travelling and jumping well in the main, Espoir De Romay quickly weakened out of contention to finish 10 1/4 lengths third.

At the time that was a disappointing finishing effort from Espoir De Romay however, something did come to light that has since been rectified by the Kim Bailey team. He’s been given ample time to recover from that seasonal debut but coming into this race fresh shouldn’t be any bad thing for Espoir De Romay.

He is a horse who has proven himself fresh on multiple occasions. He won his second ever start on the back of an eight-month absence. His second career win came on the back of a two-month break. His third win was on his seasonal debut and his fourth and final win also came off a three-month break. There shouldn’t be much concern therefore about the time he’s had off provided he’s over the issue that saw him underperform at Carlisle.

Tudor and Thomas can bag another Saturday winner

The third and final meeting to head to is Doncaster which stages the Grimthorpe Handicap Chase over 3m2f at 15:30. This is a very open race so it’s worth giving a chance to a horse at an each-way price. I’m hoping the horse that can place at a decent price is Powerstown Park for Sam Thomas and Jack Tudor.

The Grimthorpe Chase tends to go to older, more established horses so it’s worth siding with horses aged eight or above. Eight-year-olds have a good record and while it’s difficult to pin down an exact rating for this race, those rated around 130 are favoured.

The pace tends to hold up in this race despite there usually being ample frontrunners. Similar to many staying handicap chases in Britain, it doesn’t seem to matter how hard horses go up front, they simply stay there. Such is the front-runner bias of most British National Hunt tracks and why we very often get tired horses at the end of races.

Therefore, I’m looking for a horse who is likely to be ridden prominently. Ideally the horse has had three starts that season coming into the race. The horse should have run well last time out and extra gravitas is given if that horse won last time out. A decent break since a latest start of six weeks or more is also optimal.

These trends landed me on two horses, Storm Control and Powerstown Park. Initially, I was happy to play both horses but I cannot shake the thought of Storm Control throwing away the Sky Bet Handicap Chase last time out from my mind.

Kerry Lee’s charge wears his big white cheekpieces for a reason and that was displayed for all to see over Doncaster’s 2m7f214y trip last time out. He looked to have the race sewn up after a brilliant jumping display on the frontend. He was ultimately run down by a good horse who rediscovered his form and the pair drew 16 lengths clear of subsequent Coral Trophy winner, Cap Du Nord.

Storm Control is bound to be bang there again and can run into a place once more off this 4lb higher mark. However, I doubt his resolve for the win and he is currently, not a big enough each-way price for me to play him here.

Therefore, I’m left to side with Powerstown Park each-way at 9.08/1 to hopefully, run into one of the three places on offer currently.

I have far less concerns over Powerstown Park’s attitude than I do about Storm Controls and he’s running in this race off a nice weight too. Sam Thomas and Jack Tudor have both had brilliant seasons with Saturday winners aplenty between the pair of them. Confidence must be high in both camps after the last couple of weekends so hopefully, that can transcend into this Saturday.

Powerstown Park is coming into this race on the back of a win which is a positive. He’s running off a mark of 130 but Jack Tudor takes his invaluable 3lb claim off his back to further enhance his chances. Those running off higher marks than him in this race also have significant questions to have to answer in the main.

This horse may revert to prominent tactics here as he’s been ridden in that manner many times previously but that is certainly a query. He has however, had a good conditioning for this race with five starts so far this season. The other concern for him is his jumping however, where he is prone to mistakes and Doncaster is a very unforgiving course.

With a clear round and a prominent running style, Powerstown Park should have a good chance off a 6lb higher mark than for his win last time out.

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