Saturday is a simply delicious treat for fans of National Hunt racing with some top quality UK action joining day one of the Dublin Racing Festival in Ireland.
Leopardstown boasts four Grade 1s on their card, while Sandown has the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase and its Cheltenam Trials Weekend up at Musselburgh. There’s also jumps racing from Wetherby as well as all-weather action at Lingfield and Kempton (evening) on a very busy day.
Our Saturday selections include a Milton Harris inmate very much on the up and fancied to continue his winning spree at Sandown.
Sandown 1.10 – Twinjets @ 5/4
Musselburgh 2.03 – The Wolf @ 7/1
Wetherby 2.40 – Ballygrifincottage @ 4/5
Ahead of the graded action at Sandown this afternoon, look out for the Milton Harris-trained TWINJETS (5/4) in the handicap hurdle over two-and-a-half-miles that is race two on the card at 1.10.
He was a little disappointing on hurdles bow at Cheltenham in October but has won both starts since. Most recently at Plumpton last month he came away from today’s rival Twin Power to win by nine-lengths and he did so in the manner of that that will likely improve further.
His previous Leicester success saw him posting a smart time and an opening mark of 121 looks to be on the lenient side, with Twin Power up against it even allowing for a pull at the weights.
The latter is trained by Paul Nicholls but owned by the McNeill Family, ensuring Adrian Heskin rides, and that leaves the excellent Harry Cobden free to continue his thus far perfect association with Twinjets. More success beckons for them.
It’s Cheltenham Trials Weekend up at Musselburgh bur lurking amongst their range of key trials and graded contests is the Edinburgh National (2.03) over a stamina-sapping trip just shy of four-miles.
Last year’s winner Captain Cattistock is back for another crack, while Slipway for Ben Pauling is a player off the back of Southern National success at Fontwell in November and the aptly named Flower Of Scotland comes into the reckoning for Sandy Thomson.
The one that makes appeal however in terms of a bet is THE WOLF (7/1) for the Olly Murphy team.
The nine-year-old ran well in this contest 12 months ago, finishing just ¾-length second behind the winner.
He’s rated 2lb lower now and is sporting a pair of first-time blinkers that may have a positive effect. He gets the marathon trip, lurks on a decent mark and has an eye-catching jockey booking in Paddy Brennan.
Fifth in Albert Bartlett over three-miles at the Cheltenham Festival last March, the Dan Skelton-trained BALLYGRIFINCOTTAGE (4/5) can land what isn’t the strongest Grade 2 at Wetherby in the Towton Novices’ Chase (2.40) where he faces just a trio of runners.
Stamina is his things, as he showed behind Blazing Khal at Cheltenham last season before winning at Lingfield’s Winter Million meeting in January en route to the excellent Grade 1 finish at Cheltenham.
He made his fencing bow at Haydock (2m5½, soft) in November and readily stretched away from useful pair Beauport and Quel Destin to win.
His trainer has been patient with him since and he looks promising. He faces just three rivals now and it looks a more straightforward assignment than the one he passed with flying colours at Haydock. It’s surprising he’s not shorter in the betting.
*odds correct at time of writing
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