Thursday brings four race meetings from Bangor-on-Dee, Catterick, Newcastle and Chelmsford and here to arm you with all the betting info is Daryl Carter.
Money Talk continues to highlight the Betfair Sportsbook big-money moves to keep you in the loop. This section highlights market moves between 1:00 am and 9:00 am.
The morning market drifters !
Which horse is the Betfair Sportsbook market suggesting to Lay?
15:40 Catterick – Anyharminasking 7/4 OUT 9/4
Mark your card
The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today!
In the 14:00 Handicap Chase at Bangor, trainer Nicky Henderson sends a rare runner to the venue and will look to enhance his 30% strike rate. Nico de Boinville makes the trip for the ride on Ballycross 5.59/2, which is the trainer and jockeys only runner/ride of the day.
Jockey Harry Skelton also makes the trip to Bangor for one ride in the 14:30 Maiden Hurdle on Reilly 2.111/10, who has shown enough to think he can land a Maiden Hurdle event such as this.
That’s My Dubai 2322/1 will bid for back to back wins in the 13:10 Mares’ Handicap Hurdle off today’s eight pounds lower handicap mark and is back up to 3m in Mares only company for the first time with Conor O’ Farrell on (21% strike rate at Catterick). Worth a chance?
Jockey Gavin Sheehan has a 48% strike rate at Catterick and today has just one ride on Bill Baxter 3.7511/4 in the 15:10 Handicap Hurdle.
Trainer Sue Smith has a 32% strike rate over fences at Catterick. Today she saddles Tumbling Dice 3.7511/4 in the 13:40 Handicap Chase.
Trainer William Haggas has a 36% strike rate with his three-year-olds at Newcastle, and today he sends one runner. National Charter 5.04/1 in the 16:20 Novice Stakes.
Jockey David Probert has a 43% strike rate when riding for Simon Pearce at Chelmsford. Today they combine with Full Intention 8.07/1 in the 19:00 Handicap.
Horses for courses
This section highlights horses that have won twice or more at today’s tracks and could be in with a chance today.
14:20 Newcastle – Oriental Lilly – Has won here six times (17%)
14:50 Newcastle – Dragons Will Rise – Has won here twice (67%)
15:20 Newcastle – Sir Chauvelin – Has won here twice (67%)
18:30 Chelmsford – Channel Packet – Has won here twice (13%)
Weighted to go well
“Weighted to go well” highlights horses running that are more than 10lbs below their last winning handicap mark.
This section highlights a trainer, owner or jockey who is in excellent current form and their runners or rides for the day.
Jockey Brian Hughes heads to Catterick today and has been operating at a 24% strike rate in the last 14 days with eight winners from his last 34 rides. He looks like a man to keep on side today.
Trainer David Pipe is today’s furthest traveller with his runner Sidi Ismael 4.03/1 at Catterick in the 14:40 Yorkshire Grand National Handicap Chase. This is the trainer’s sole runner at this venue today, and he has made the 293-mile journey.
Race of the day
Today’s feature meeting comes from Catterick as a field of eight go to post for the 14:40 North Yorkshire Grand National Handicap Chase. Interestingly enough, all four of the last winners of this contest had previously finished first or second over course and distance in their career. Catterick is a unique course, so it may pay to take a chance on one that has that all-important course experience.
Market leader Sidi Ismael does not have course experience, but he is three for three since joining David Pipe and two for two in cheekpieces and, as a consequence, has risen 21 pounds in the handicap.
He is on the upgrade, but his latest victory at Market Rasen over 3m3f in the Lincolnshire National Handicap was just 18 days ago, and he was all-out at the finish.
He needs to prove his stamina for this extra distance and has an eight pounds higher mark to contend with today. His trainer does make the longest journey of the day for this contest, but his price is short enough off this handicap mark.
Almazhar Garde did too much too soon in the Borders National at Kelso, but he was still in front at three-out to his credit. Connections opt to switch jockeys, and if Luca Morgan can get the fractions right over this shorter trip, he ought to be in with a shout.
The slight concern for backers is that he has failed to stay beyond three miles on three occasions now, and for one that has won so well over 2m3f here at Catterick, a drop in distance could be on the cards should this not work out.
William Of Orange has failed to complete on his last three starts and is now an 11-year-old, but he likes it here at Catterick with form figures of 1514. He is three pounds below his last winning mark which came at Southwell in the spring beating subsequent Wincanton Badger Beers scorer Rocco.
He has little stamina worries with a head second to the strong staying Dawson’s City at Carlisle over 3m5f, and second time out could be an angle to exploit with this runner at a big price.
William Of Orange makes his second start after a break today, and he won second time out at this course in 2021, was beaten a head second time out 2019, won second time out in 2018, 2017 and 2016.
A leap of faith needs to be taken to back him, but he has plenty in his favour and looks to have been written off by the market.
Big race verdict
Nearly all of these have something to prove. Sidi Ismael is too short in the market with stamina to prove off this new mark. Almazhar Garde also needs to prove his stamina, while Supreme Escape and Who’s In The Box both get new headgear but have not taken well to previous forms. Chef D’Oeuvre and Classic Escape are not be fully trusted, and the former lacks any course experience. Mance Rayder will need this ground to dry out considerably, leaving the outside of the party WILLIAM OF ORANGE. He looks a fair price to take a small each-way chance on back here at Catterick. He has bounced back from a pulled-up run before to win, so his latest effort should not be held against him.
A winner in waiting at Chelmsford?
Timeform’s Adam Houghton highlights a Nap, Next Best and Each-Way selection at Chelmsford on Thursday.
Dragon can continue to rise
In the 14:50 Handicap at Newcastle, Dragons Will Rise 4.03/1 can continue to progress by improving on his eye-catching effort at Wolverhampton in November, now returning to this stiffer track.
Robert Havlin is back on board today and has scored four times from five rides on this horse, and the selection boasts a 67% two for three record at this track. He gave the firm impression that there was more to come still despite a rapid rise in the handicap last term. Today sees him ease in grade, and there looks to be a good clip on today which will enhance his chances from a good draw in stall two.
He ticks plenty of boxes today.
No final philosophical word today as prep begins for the weekends racing. It’s been a very quiet mid-week for the National Hunt scene, but things get back on track for the weekend with some hot racing.
Plenty of Irish entries have been seen this week, notably from Gordon Elliott, who likes to fish for handicap marks with a view to March. It’s always wise to check which horses he is entering and make a note of the differential between their Irish handicap marks and English ones.
It looks as though the English handicapper has given an overall six pounds rise to the Irish runners (not all but average). That seems fair, so hardly the mean treatment promised at the early part of the season.
Until tomorrow, be lucky.
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