Do you want the bad news first or the very bad news?
Well, the bad new is Dave Massey is having a well-earned holiday. The very bad news is I have been asked to step into the hot seat for him. That means you will be getting the Victor Value selections for the next two days.
It looked hard work for yesterday’s selection Made For Minds who didn’t look like he wanted to go past the leader in the final furlong but a strong ride from Joey Sheridan enabled the column to grab a second winner on the week.
It was as you were in the flat jockey’s championship for Murphy and Buick. Both riders rode a winner at Chelmsford yesterday evening so the gap remains at two.
Inside today's main piece I have had a look at three races at Haydock & Uttoxeter
The final declarations for Champions Day are out. Snowfall goes for the Fillies & Mares race instead of the Champion Stakes. The Aidan O’Brien filly takes on just seven rivals with the well fancied in the Free Wind and La Petite Coco not being declared.
Adayar 4th in the Arc takes his place in what looks a strong field of runners in the Champion Stakes. Mishriff remains the ante post favourite but add in the likes of last year’s winner Addeybb & stablemate Dubai Honour and Arc 5th Sealiway and you have the makings of a more interesting race than I had expected.
I know I said I wasn't that excited about Champions Day this year but the closer it gets the more I am.
Onto today’s action and there’s plenty of it over both codes across Britain & Ireland. It’s a quiet day on the betting front. Although I do have a handful of fancies at Haydock & Uttoxeter.
2:20 – Download The Casumo App Handicap (Class 3) – 6f
Just the little matter of a 17-runner sprint handicap.
Thaler a winner at Kempton two starts back was well fancied to make a winning handicap debut at that venue 9-days ago. He travelled through the race like he’s on a winnable mark but was just touched off by a stronger stayer over 7f. The drop back to sprinting looks a big positive but soft ground would be an unknown.
Raatea may not be the easiest of rides and remains in great form but that improvement has come on quick turf.
Chairmanoftheboard is knocking on the door and is threatening to win a handicap. He comes Into the race on the back of a short head 2nd of 10 at York 3-weeks ago and William Buick has been booked for the ride.
Cold Stare a three-time winner at the course, goes well on soft ground and won at Ayr 8-days ago. Has a 5lb penalty to carry for that success but should be in the mix.
Air Raid was successful in this 12 months ago and can race off the same mark here. The 6-year-old bounced back to something like his best when a 1 ¼ lengths third of 21 at York last Saturday. That was his first run since a wind-operation. Soft ground suits and he should be there or thereabouts.
4:05 – Casumo Mane Event Handicap (Class 3) – 1m
Bake has missed a couple of engagements on account of good to firm ground. The 3-year-old made it 2-2 for the season when winning at Doncaster in August. He’s 2lb higher now but remains capable of better.
You can’t fault Ffion’s consistency this season. The filly’s best form has come over 7f but she was runner-up over mile at Royal Ascot and should be fine over a mile around here.
3:05 – Low Cost Roofing Stoke Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) – 2m 7 ½ f
Trincomalee ended last season in top form. The 8-year-old had looked sure to win half way on the run in at Haydock but was caught in the final strides when a length 2nd of 11 in May. Has a good chance if in the same form after a 160-day break.
Litterale Ci put in a couple of cracking efforts on the flat and over hurdles at the Galway Festival. The mare has since come up against an improved sort at Newton Abbot over shorter. The return to this distance will suit and trainer Harry Fry saddled last year’s winner.
2:20 – 1pt win – Air Raid – 5/1 – Gen
4:05 – 1pt win – Bake – 5/1 – Gen
3:05 – 1pt win – Litterale Ci – 5/1 @ Coral & Ladbrokes.
Good luck with your Friday bets
You can trial the Victor Value service here