Charlie McCann of BetVictor.com with this weekend’s best bets
A wonderful weekend of racing with the climax of the two-day Breeders’ Cup meeting from Del Mar this evening and the Charlie Hall Chase – and the return of the evergreen Cue Card – the highlight of Wetherby’s excellent jumps card this afternoon.
There is rain forecast overnight for Wetherby and that just sways me to former Gold Cup winner Coneygree (3.15) in the Charlie Hall in receipt of 6lbs from Cue Card. The selection was thrashed by Cue Card at Haydock in the Betfair Chase last November returning from a long absence and was not seen again until finishing a close third behind Gold Cup winner Sizing John at Punchestown.
Coneygree (11/4 at BetVictor) represents the small yard of Mark Bradstock and it would be fair to say that the few runners they have had in recent weeks have pulled few trees up, but jockey Nico De Boinville is reported to be pleased with his mount’s homework and he gets the narrow vote at 9/4 with BetVictor.
The promising Ballymoy may need further than the minimum trip over hurdles and Al Shahir (12.55) made a very encouraging hurdles debut when runner up at Fakenham to a decent mare who received 10lbs on the day including the jockey’s allowance.
The Nipper makes her chase debut for Warren Greatrex and will appreciate any significant overnight rain, but I think winning pointer Born Survivor (1.30) will make a better chaser than hurdler and he can score at the first time of asking over the larger obstacles for Dan and Harry Skelton.
At Ascot Duke Street ran with considerable promise at Worcester on his first start over fences and he should soon be winning over the larger obstacles but Copain De Classe (1.50) has the scope to jump a fence and can score for trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Sam Twiston-Davies who is riding out of his skin at present.
Marracudja must go close in the valuable 2m Handicap Chase for the same Nicholls/Twiston-Davies combination but Calipto (2.25) represents connections who often target this meeting and with rain forecast, he must go close for Venetia Williams.
There is good card at Ayr and in the valuable 2m chase, I hope to see a bold show from Lake View Lad (2.45) who has not been seen since injuring a stifle at Carlisle back In December. Mumgos Debut looks ready for a return to the minimum trip and looks well treated at the foot of the weights, but I think there is much more to come from Lake View Lad if back to his best.
The Scottish Champion Hurdle Trial sees the reappearance of the highly regarded Mount Mews but a number of the Malcolm Jefferson team have needed their first run of the season and he is reluctantly overlooked. The vote goes to Martila (3.20) who receives 26lbs from the Jefferson runner and looked one to follow when runner up at Kelso on her reappearance.
With a recent run at Chelmsford under his belt, I expect to see a different Boynton (2.55) back on turf at Newmarket in their listed James Seymour Stakes for Charlie Appleby and Adam Kirby.
At Down Royal, I’m looking forward to the seasonal reappearance of Irish National winner Our Duke (2.30) who is 7/1 for the Gold Cup with BetVictor ahead of the JN Wine Chase at Down Royal for Jessica Harrington.
On Sunday, Rickrack (2.25) can take the 10f handicap also for Jessie Harrington having done us a favour when winning her maiden three weeks ago. The handicapper has had his say but I think she is improving at a rate of knots and can follow up.
At Carlisle, Just Minded (1.30) might be well treated on his chase debut for Sue Smith from a mark of 122. The selection shaped with considerable promise over timber in a light campaign last term and has always looked the type to make a better chaser.
The Breeders’ Cup looks difficult with many of my fancies having a poor draw to overcome this evening but no such worries for Wuheida (9.00) who must have every chance if she adapts to the first-time blinkers in the fillies’ and mares. At 9/1 with BetVictor, I would be disappointed if she didn’t go close and can reward each way support.
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