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So, after a week off, the free horse racing tips are back. Sorry for anyone who was looking forward to last week’s free horse racing tips, but I had a couple of stable tours to take in, which didn’t give me enough time to look at the racing properly. Still, the stable tours put us in a good position come March for the Cheltenham Festival in March. But now I’m back, we’ve got racing from Cheltenham and Doncaster to look forward to, although it’s worth pointing out that the current weather is completely mental, so anything could actually happen.
But how did the free horse racing tips get on a fortnight ago? Well, it was a return to form, as we managed to land a few nice priced winners and get us back onto a winning track. The NAP of the day, Black Hercules duly obliged first up at 5/6, then Gardefot done the business at 7/2. We followed that up with a couple of third places for Isaacstown Lad and Vendor, before Thomas Hobson romped home in the big race at 5/1. Luv U Whatever ran a shocker at the only race of the day that was televised on Channel 4 from Chelmsford, and De Kerry Man ran a big race in the last race of the day, but didn’t get near to the winner. Still, that gave us a profit of 5.33 units and takes our season back into profit to the tune of +1.66 units
Now, before we start our free horse racing tips for today’s meetings from Cheltenham and Doncaster, which are both live on Channel Four Racing, As always, I need to promote one of our favourite bookies at Sports Betting Tips, because Bet365 will give you the best price on every horse race shown live on Channel Four if you back it from 10am on the day of the race. That means you should wait until 10am Saturday and get the best price, as they will match their competitors. What could be better than best prices? Well, if you back a winner at 4/1 or more at Bet365 on any of the Channel Four races, you get a free bet that matches your stake on the winner for the next Channel Four race.
You know, for the first televised race of the day, it’s a seriously hot race over 3 miles. We have Djakadam, ante post favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, we have 2015 Grand National winner Many Clouds, mudlark Smad Place, Wakanda, who is unbeaten this season, and the very interesting O’Faolains Boy.
But who stands out? Well, I have previous with O’Faolain’s Boy, and I have to say, on previous form, he would be a good thing. However, he’s not stepping back up into some exalted class. And as much as I would love to see him recapture some form, it’ll be tough for him to win.
Now, Djakadam is the obvious choice here, given his second last years Cheltenham Gold Cup. But the ground is getting worse at Cheltenham, and it’s going to favour a real mudlark. Especially a murlark that is going to be getting 4lbs from Djakadam and Many Clouds. Yes, Smad Place NB is the pick here. He’s shown he’s capable in the big races when the ground testing, and I think connections might just be telling Djakadam and Many Clouds not to go at it too hard, as there are bigger prizes on offer for them in the coming months. Smad Place should bounce back to form here after a disappointing showing last time out.
Next up, another hot race, this time a 2m Grade 2 hurdle, with a field of 7 declared runners.
It’s a bit of a tricky race to work at, as we’ve got some horses coming into this race in form, but it’s hard to really gauge how good that form truly is. Lily Waugh has won her last three, including last time out at Cheltenham. However, the trip does look a little bit on the short side, and the horse she beat into second last time out hasn’t exactly done much in his next two outings.
Smart Talk also comes to the race in some good form, with 3 wins from 5 starts over hurdles. He doesn’t mind the ground, and won a Listed race last time out. In fact, Sunshine Corner, who he beat last time out, has gone on to win well, franking the form. However, he does seem to be screaming out for around 2 and a half miles, while this is over the minimum distance.
Morning Run is the selection here. Willie Mullins isn’t going to be sending Morning Run over here without a good reason, and after a prep run at Leopardstown last time out, he should get back to winning ways, especially as the last time out was over 2 miles 4 furlongs, and he seems to prefer the shorter trip. He won’t mind the ground, and all signs point to another Mullins raid on one of England’s top races. He’s 8lbs ahead on ratings, and should have more than enough to see this decent field off.
Another quality race from Cheltenham, a Grand 3 2 mile 4 furlong handicap chase.
The top weight, Irish Cavalier, has been at the head of the market for some of the bigger handicaps so far this year, but just hasn’t recaptured the form that was expected from him. Can he do it here? In horrible ground, carrying top weight? No. The same applies to Champagne West, to be fair. We expected big things from Champagne West, but it just seems like everything is against him here. Not that you can count against Hobbs and Johnson on a Saturday, but there seems to be better options out there.
Big things were expected from Salubrious, but after coming back with a win, he seems to have just petered out a bit, and although he could bounce back, it’s a trappy race, and we’re looking for a bit better form than he’s shown if he was to win this race.
Instead, we’re plumping for Tenor Nivernais, who has finally come into some form over fences after 16 starts. He’s had to good places in his last two races at Cheltenham behind Village Vic, and is weighted appropriately with Champagne West to ensure a tight race, but the lighter weight should work in his favour. Plus, we just love Venetia Williams on a Saturday.
Next up, a 3 mile novice hurdle, which has a few runners that could be expected to make some big waves in the coming few years in the National Hunt sphere.
Ephraim and Ami Desbois might just be fighting out their own battle here. They’re a couple of nice sorts, but they’re run into a very strong field here which should put both of them in their place.
However, the rest of the field look incredibly strong on paper, and Minella Charmer should relish the ground. However, he needs to prove he can cope with the step up in trip, and also the step up in class. While it wouldn’t be unexpected, he has a bit to find with some of the others.
Up For Review is another Willie Mullins raiders, but disappointed in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham last year. However, he’s won his last two outings over hurdles, one of which was a Grade 2 3 mile hurdle at Punchestown. He should be hard to beat, and the Wylies will be confident of another big race winner.
However, Barters Hill NAP has had two runs over hurdles, he’s won them both, and the last time out he won by 12 lengths pulling away in a Grade 1 at Newbury. Now, the one question is the trip, but I can’t see why that should be an issue for this class act. His form with North Hill Harvey also stacks up remarkably well, so it’s hard to look past this unbeaten hurdler.
The feature race of the day, the Grade 2 Neptune Investment Hurdle over 2 miles 4 furlongs has a ridiculously strong field. It’s going to be run over heavy ground, so it’s going to be interesting to see which of these novices can cope with the tough conditions.
Shantou Village hacked up last time out at Cheltenham, beating Champers on Ice by 15 lengths, but it could have been more. The race was hot, and really set the stage for the upcoming novice hurdles. However, the race he won was a bit of a weird one, it was hard to judge just how good the form is. However, Champers on Ice has gone on to win twice since, albeit it not too convincingly. I didn’t think much of that race at the time, and I still don’t.
Yanworth only has a question mark over his ability to cope with the distance. He’s won at this level, he’s a class act and he’s won easily on his three outings over hurdles. Geraghty and King are formidable in these kind of races, and they’re expecting big things from Yanworth. I don’t blame them.
A 3 mile Listed handicap chase is next up from Doncaster, and it’s a tricky, tricky race, as we’ve got some old-timers taking on the young bucks.
Holywell sets the standard, but he’s right up the handicap, and hasn’t shown any kind of form this season. It’s a real drop in class for him, he’s good enough for this kind of race, but this isn’t the right race for him. And you know what, the same can be said of Double Ross. Aachen, well, the old-timer has been going well, but this is a different prospect here.
Instead of the old-timers, we’re looking at one of the youngsters to pick up the prize here, and that’s the extremely classy Le Mercurey. He’ll love the ground, the trip won’t be a problem, and he looks ridiculously well handicapped on his handicap chase debut. He’s won a Group 2 chase, didn’t go so well in another big one at Cheltenham, finishing a distant third, but it looks like the perfect race for him.
The Cleeve Hurdle is usually a hot race, but this time out, it looks like a one-horse race, and that is the seriously progressive Thistlecrack. It’s more or less a penalty kick for him, unless we get a bolter from the field that is unexpected. Get on Thistlecrack to finish the day strong, and watch as he heads to this year’s World Hurdle as a very short -priced favourite. Of course, if he doesn’t win, the World Hurdle becomes wide open!