Today’s best bets, by Greg Wood
There are 27 races on the programme in Britain this afternoon and currently just one horse trading at odds-on, and that’s a 10-11 chance. It’s an impressive offering in terms of competitiveness, given that we are halfway between Cheltenham and Aintree and the opening day of Flat racing on turf is two days away. It’s what racing will need to do on a regular basis when the sport’s new funding system kicks in, probably in the next few days.
If there is a disappointment, it is that there are just six runners for the most valuable prize of the day, a £30,000 juvenile fillies’ handicap hurdle at Warwick.
Only one of the runners looks out of her depth, though, and the other five are priced at between 15-8 and 8-1, with the contest arguably revolving around the 7-2 second-favourite Magie Du Ma, who was pitched into the Triumph Hurdle last time out on her British debut, nine months after her previous start in France.
David Pipe’s filly cost €210,000 (£181,419) to import after finishing second in a Grade 3 event at Auteuil, and ran very well in the circumstances before fading in the closing stages to finish ninth of 15.
Whether another competitive race 13 days later is quite what she needs remains to be seen, though, and the balance of her form suggests she still has a bit to find against Deauville Crystal (2.50). Nigel Hawke’s runner is also being turned out quickly, having won well at Newbury on Saturday over an extra two furlongs, but she has been admirably consistent during the current campaign and a repeat of her most recent form would probably be good enough today.
Regal Flow (3.25) looked to be heading for victory when unseating his rider three out last time out and should be good enough from the same mark this afternoon, while at Taunton, Hidden Cargo (2.00) has had a two-month break since his last, disappointing run at Newbury and could return refreshed and run close to the form of his one-length second behind Movewiththetimes in December.
Amour De Nuit (3.35) was useful on the Flat and made short work of an opening mark over hurdles of 118 at Taunton 10 days ago. He should follow up under a penalty, while at Wolverhampton, Shamash (4.55) stands out in the 12-furlong handicap. He ran into an improver in Monjeni last time out but put up an excellent performance to run him to half a length and does not have anything of that calibre to worry about today. Captain Dion (3.10) should also go well on the same card, while Ickymasho (6.15) is the pick of the card at Chelmsford City this evening.
Thursday’s tips, by Greg Wood
1.50 Hogan’s Height 2.20 Celtic Tune 2.50 Deauville Crystal (nb) 3.25 Regal Flow 4.00 Catching On 4.35 Whiskey In The Jar 5.10 Whoshotwho
2.00 Hidden Cargo 2.30 Hahnenkam 3.00 Innocent Girl 3.35 Amour De Nuit 4.10 Timeforwest 4.45 Port Melon
2.10 Lizzy’s Dream 2.40 Full Intention 3.10 Captain Dion 3.45 Remember Me 4.20 Monologue 4.55 Shamash (nap) 5.25 Surround Sound
5.45 Bonnie Arlene 6.15 Ickymasho 6.45 Ejayteekay 7.15 Itsakindamagic 7.45 Polar Kite 8.15 London 8.45 Tasaaboq