by John Burke

February 17, 2021

Good morning all,

It felt like spring in Yorkshire yesterday. I’m sure it won’t last but let’s enjoy the milder weather while it lasts.

All in all, a cracking weekend ahead and even better its’ going to be run in spring like temperatures.

On Saturday there’s Grade 1 action at Ascot with the Ascot Chase and a good undercard of supporting races including the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase and the Listed Swinley Chase.

There’s also a good card at Haydock with feature races being the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle and a likely competitive Grand National Trial Handicap Chase. At Wincanton it’s the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle with the likes of Song For Someone and Goshen among the entries.

On Sunday, we have the rescheduled Betfair’s Super Saturday’ Newbury card and of course the big betting race of the weekend the Betfair Hurdle.

There’s no Altior in the Game Spirit Chase but he’s been replaced by stablemate Champ who had been expected to run in the Denman Chase on the card.

Before all that we have a good card at Wetherby to enjoy.

Inside today’s main piece I have three for the tracker. Plus, I have had a look at some races from this afternoon’s Wetherby card. This all means my look ahead to the weekend’s action will be in tomorrow's column.

Three for the tracker

I mentioned yesterday Mister Whitaker, as to one to keep on eye on in the coming weeks. Well, there are three others that caught my eye last week.

Didtheyleaveuoutto – Nick Gifford

Didtheyleaveuoutto hasn't had the best of luck in the past 12 months, falling on three of his hurdles starts. He was going well and closing on the leaders when coming down three out at Chepstow back in October. The 8-year-old returned to action in a “jumpers” bumper at Kempton last week and showed he’s well-being when finishing runner-up to Southfield Stone.

He’s on a competitive mark when returning to hurdles and if he gets a sound surface, which he needs. I’m sure he can win a win a handicap hurdle.

Brilliant Light – Saeed bin Suroor

Was sent off the 5/2 favourite for the 1m 4f handicap at Meydan last Thursday. A promising 4th of 15 on his Meydan debut. He improved on that performance when finishing 3rd of 16 to Star Safari.

The 4-year-old’s best form last season came when winning a 1m 2f handicap at Sandown on good to soft.  After that success his jockey told the Racing Post; “he wouldn't want to be running somewhere with firm in the description”.

He’s only had six career starts, remains progressive and could land a decent handicap in Europe this summer when he gets some cut in the ground.

The Big Dog – Peter Fahey

The Big Dog won the Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Punchestown on Sunday with the step up to 3m 4f really suiting him.

When he went clear of his field two out, it looked like he would go on to win easy but he idled and was headed by the eventual runner-up Screaming Colours after the last. To his credit he found plenty for jockey Jamie Codd’s urgings on the run in and battled on for a game success.

I think there are more staying handicap chases to be won with the 8-year-old who could well head for a tilt at the Irish Grand National. If the ground is soft or heavy at Fairyhouse he would have a great chance.

Wednesday racing

Three competitive handicaps at Wetherby this afternoon and I have had a look at the two handicap chases.

2:05 – Sixt Car Hire Handicap Chase (Class 3) – 1m 7f

Marracudja has had a wind-op since disappointing in the Castleford Handicap Chase over C&D in December. The same race he won the previous season off today’s mark. Big chance at the weights, if the wind-op has done the trick.

Commis D'Office, a winner when trained in France has yet to win on his eight starts for Venetia Williams. However, he ran well 2nd of 7 at Newbury 63-days ago and is on a winnable mark on the best of his form.

Hollywoodien an easy winner on his final start last season was an eyecatcher on his return to action when 3rd of 8 to Ibleo at Sandown 46-days ago. Slight concern that he’s had wind-op since but the cheekpieces that were left off last time return. Looks to have decent each way claims at 7/1 or better.

Maypole Class made it 2-3 over fences when winning at Fakenham last time. Up 8lb, in a better race but he’s open to further progress.

Umbrigado has even less experience over fences. Just the two starts but last time he beat three rivals in a Fontwell novice chase. Decent over hurdles he can rate higher over the larger obstacles but I’m not sure the drop back from an extended 2m 3f is a positive.

3:12 – Racing TV HD On Sky 426 Handicap Chase (Class 4) – 3m

Sigurd was pulled up at Carlisle yesterday so seems unlikely to run.

Commit Or Quit won over C&D, off 4lb lower, three starts back and ran even better when 2nd of 9 over C&D last month. Another good run looks likely from the 6-year-old.

Destinee Royale won a 2m 3f handicap chase at Market Rasen 12 months ago. Despite a 9lb rise in the weights she was sent off 6/4 favourite for her seasonal return at Sandown last month before unseating her rider at the 6th. Had little chance at the weights when 4th of 5 in Listed mares chase at Warwick last time but better can be expected back in handicap company and she looks well treated on her first run beyond 2m 5f.

Hugo ‘N Taz won last seasons Lincolnshire National at Market Rasen off 1lb lower. However, he hasn’t run anywhere near that level of form on three subsequent starts.

Leverock Lass won at the fifth attempt over fences here 52-days ago. The ground was heavy and she was the only finisher of the four runners. The mare can race off the same mark here and has nice light weight.

Wednesday Selection:


2:05 – Hollywoodien – 15/2 @ Paddy Power & Betfair Sportsbook (both paying 3 places 1/5 odds)

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Good luck with your Wednesday bets.


John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here –

Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TGH Trading Ltd or it's employees.

About the author 

John Burke

John Burke is a long term tipster at the Victor Value service, a contributor to On Course Profits and of course a regular contributor here at the Daily Punt. If you want all of John's selections every weekend and his horses to follow – Click Here

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