A bright Friday morning brings with it the joy of six tips from the excellent Nick Hardman of the Betting School Insiders Club…
We have some decent racing today with the meetings at Doncaster and Huntingdon standing out by some way. I have gone through the cards and picked out some horses with strong chances as well as picking out a couple of bigger priced each-way runners.
John Ferguson is 4-11 with his hurdlers at Doncaster in non-handicap races in the last 3 years for a level stakes profit of £9.29. He runs Buckwheat in the novice hurdle race at 1.05pm and champ AP McCoy is booked to ride.
Nicky Henderson’s Days Of Heaven rates a big danger after showing much improved form in a first time hood when scoring at Ludlow (hood fitted again here). With that in mind there are options for the forecast with these two likely to be a lot better than the rest.
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Steel Summit’s winning sequence must come to an end at some point but the manner of his latest victory and the fact he is 10lbs well-in at the weights make him one of the strongest bets on the card in the 2.50pm.
Nicky Henderson has a good chance of taking the final race on the Doncaster card with Clondaw Banker in the maiden hurdle. His second behind Jolly’s Cracked it at Ascot back in November is smart form and he ran that same rival to within a length next time out. A reproduction of either of those efforts should be enough to win this.
It’s not often a horse with form figures 8696 would interest me but you should always put those figures into the context of the race the horse is running in.
In this case the race is a novice handicap hurdle and a quick look at the rest of the runners reveal they too have form figures that look like the numbers round from Countdown.
The horse in question is Haleo and he runs in the 1.40pm today at Doncaster.
What drew my eye to him originally is that he is rated 97 in a race where the top rated horses are rated 99.
However, he gets a hefty 13lbs weight-for-age allowance from those two horses.
He ran well for a long way on his last start before fading two from home to finish 6th, beaten 10 lengths in total. He is the 20/1 outsider of the field here but I think that allowance will see him finish closer than market expectations.
Over at Huntingdon we have a similar scenario in the 4.05pm handicap hurdle that closes the card. Cyclop is joint-top rated with Harry Hunt on an official rating of 120.
However, the 4yo Cyclop gets 11lbs from his 8yo rival. Also in his favour is the booking of Sam Twiston-Davies and he also has a C&D win to his name. Up 6lbs for that latest win he might still have a bit of improvement in him.
The best race on the Huntingdon card is the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Qualifier and top rated Aubusson is sure to prove popular dropping back into a handicap.
His latest effort saw him finish 3rd in the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle. Prior to that, he won the Grade 3 Fixed Brush Hurdle at Haydock to earn his current rating of 153.
He has to give 11lbs away here although Lizzie Kelly’s claim will off-set 7lbs of that.
However, this is a hot race with David Pipe’s Knight Of Noir also holding strong claims along with Dolatulo and Zeroshadesofgrey.
But the one really interesting runner is Ely Brown. He defied an absence of 198 days to win a Pertemps Qualifier at Ascot in 2012 off a mark of 125 and went on to finish 6th in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham festival.
He defied an absence of 206 days to win the same Qualifier again in 2013 off a mark of 135 before being sent novice chasing where he won a Grade 2 on his second start.
He has not been seen in almost a year but it is interesting he goes back over hurdles and is racing here off a mark of 139.
Charlie Deutsch takes off 5lbs so that puts Ely Brown 1lb below his last winning hurdles mark.
He has won first time out in the last 2 seasons. This would be some training feat were he to take this and it will be interesting to see how he goes.
The negatives are that he is returning from injury (as opposed to a seasonal break) and word is he is being aimed at a tilt at the Grand National so this may just be a pipe-opener.
That said you often see Grand National horses running at the Cheltenham festival in the Pertemps Final.
My interest is perked just enough to have a little each-way @12/1.
Doncaster 1.05pm Buckwheat
Doncaster 1.40pm Haleo @20/1 (e/w)
Doncaster 2.50pm Steel Summit @6/4
Doncaster 3.50pm Clondaw Banker
Huntingdon 3.05pm Ely Brown @12/1 (e/w)
Huntingdon 4.05pm Cyclop @9/2