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13:20 Lingfield

Ballygrifincottage is set to start favourite for this event having been a very good third to Blazing Khal last time out at Cheltenham. That form is miles better than any other form line here and clearly sets the standard and a repeat of that should see him home.

Irish raider Fameaftertheglory is still a maiden over hurdles but has two second places to his name, though the form line of the first run has took a bit of a hit. He could improve for the step up in trip however but is a bit risky.

Crossing Lines is one who could run well at a big price stepping up in trip and I fancy him to reverse the form with Don of Mary making his second hurdles start however I am siding with Ballygrifincottage to give the Skeltons a nice win here.


Written by Tom Bates

13:50 Lingfield

A tight and trappy contest where it is conceivable that three of the likely four runners could be given a good chance to take the spoils. War Lord will be popular with the punters as he is from the inform Tizzard/Powell team and chased home the majorly improved Edwardstone at Sandown last time out. There is certainly nothing in this field that would rival Edwardstone so he should be able to do enough to take this race. He beat yesterday’s easy winner Minella Drama in November at Carlisle and his jumping has been good so far for a novice.

Il Ridoto would have a chance but there seems to be a bit of a cloud over the Nicholls yard at the moment and not many horses have been running to form. Favoir would perhaps prefer a bit better ground but still has a chance and is two from four over fences.


Written by Michael Taylor

14:25 Lingfield

Sadly just the three runners are now set to line up after the withdrawal of both Lucky Max and Miranda.

The outsider of the trio is the once promising Goshen. Destined to be a Cheltenham Festival winner before falling at the last and since then seems to have fallen off a cliff. He’s continued to be tried at the highest level but with little to no success and you now have to wonder if he’s gone at the game. The sentimental side of me would love to see him live up to the promise he once showed but based on current form he looks unlikely to trouble the top two.

From one final fence faller to another and Brewin’upastorm aimed to make it back to back victories but sadly came crashing down at the last when in with every chance of taking home victory at Cheltenham. The yard of Olly Murphy are going great guns of late and it certainly wouldn’t be a stretch to see the nine year old return to winning ways.

All that being said however the 6lb weight allowance that Darver Star receives should be enough to tip the scales in her favour. A former third in a Champion Hurdle is by far the best form on offer here and a recent success shows she’s far from past it. The slight negative however is she isn’t one for running up a sequence of victories and hasn’t won back to back since her novice hurdling days. A foray into chasing proved less than fruitful and clearly relished these smaller obstacles. Connections wont have flown her all this way for a holiday and she can certainly repay her air fair by adding another win to her tally.


Written by Rory Paddock

14:40 Thurles

The well-bred Minella Melody heads the market here on her first start over the larger obstacles. Henry’s charge was last seen finishing runner-up to the classy Stormy Ireland in a Grade 1 at Punchestown. She’s got an obvious chance but I think this will be more of a stepping stone to bigger things.

Jeremys Flame is another horse that was Grade 1 placed over hurdles and has done well over fences to date. She steps up to this trip for the first time but was a good winner over 2m3f last time so should see this trip out well for the in-form Gavin Cromwell team. Ballyshannon Rose was a progressive hurdler and has run well in both chase outings. She's a course and distance winner too, so shouldn’t be too far away.

Of the others, Global Equity takes a big drop in class and is back against her own sex which puts her in the mix, while Darrens Hope chased home Concertista most recently at Limerick.


Written by Peter Keogh

15:00 Lingfield

Some familiar names line up here for this two mile six furlong handicap chase and most of them come here with question marks.

Dashel Drasher comes here in the best form. He exploited his lesser hurdle mark with an all the way victory at Newbury. Conditions should be fine for him, however for a horse that likes to dominate, he might not have it own way up front with Bristol De Mai in competition.

Bristol De Mai on ratings is just the best in here. Despite the ground not being in his favour in the Betfair chase, that was a particularly disappointing effort albeit in a class way above this. Is time start to take its toll? He will have his ground, but he will need to back on song to concede weight all round.

Itchy Feet is a slightly speculative selection. He’s a horse that has clearly lots of ability and has often threatened to make the step up to the highest grade only to fall slightly short. He has run respectably so far this season and doesn’t have an awful lot to find with Dashel Drasher on their Ascot run. He could represent some value.


Written by Matt Polley

15:15 Thurles

Just the four runners for this Grade 2 event but it doesn't lack quality. Allaho took this contest twelve months ago before going on to put in arguably the best display of the week when running away with the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham. He looked good without being spectacular when winning the John Durkan but he should have improved since then and looks difficult to oppose.

The likeable Fakir D'oudairies is high-class and ideally suited by today's distance but was beaten by the selection by eight lengths at Punchestown and beat him 12 lengths at Cheltenham, so needs to improve. Battleoverdoyen chased home Envoi Allen in a three-runner Grade 1 over Christmas, but there are question marks over the strength of that form and should struggle. The final runner is Notebook(12/1), who did too much when “taking on” Energumene for the lead at Cork last time out. Obviously, the winner didn't let the side down against Shishkin but that race may have taken its toll.


Written by Peter Keogh

15:35 Lingfield

The final race captured by the ITV camera’s this weekend is this gruelling marathon known as the Surrey National. With the ground also on the heavy side this is going to be a ridiculous test of stamina so you need horses who are likely to stay all day.

If we’re looking for a horse who hails from a yard in-form then you’d be wise to look no further than Laskalin. Trainer Venetia Williams has her horses flying of late with a massive nine winners in the past fortnight. Long, gruelling chases on testing ground are seen as the trainers bread and butter and she’s notorious with her stayers in the winter months. Although the seven year old is yet to be tested over such a distance his exploits in France indicate he’ll relish the heavy going. Shouldn’t be far away and looks a solid each way play.

At much bigger prices for those looking for an outsider that could spoil the party, former course winners Colonel Keating and Seaston Spirit look massively over priced and the ever consistent Samuel Jackson should give punters a run for their money. Similarly to Venetia Williams another woman in red hot form is jockey Tabitha Worsley. She’s bagged a handful of trips to the winners enclosure of late and is set to climb aboard Colonel Keating. A former course winner who’s been at his best on testing ground similar to today’s conditions. As with the aforementioned Laskalin he’s yet to tackle a trip this far but that wouldn’t put me off too much based on what he’s shown so far. Trainer Richard Rowe has had a recent winner to boot and although his runner is at the ripe old age of 10 he’s very lightly raced with just twelve runs to his name under rules. I couldn’t put anyone off but I do feel a few others hold stronger claims.

The masterful trainer that is Oliver Sherwood has had undoubted success in his career, especially with the likes of Many Clouds he’s failed to find his next superstar or Grade 1 contender. Although he’s not been at his most prolific over the past few seasons he’s still been grabbing a hatful of winners, albeit at a lower level. Maybe one of the rank outsiders Seaston Spirit can change that this afternoon. A former course winner who’s also won over this trip and on this tacky surface he’s certainly got his optimum conditions. Now residing off a weight below his last winning mark it’s safe to say if he’s near his best he could make his current odds look silly. Of course it’d be foolish to ignore the face he’s failed to complete three of his last five starts but he can be forgiven his most recent effort when a falling horse impeded him badly. He needs to show a drastic improvement but his last victory did come this time last year so he’s worth taking a chance on.

You wont get a more consistent horse in the race than Samuel Jackson. Claiming top four finishes in all of his last five completed starts punters are sure to get a solid run for their money. Today’s race should tick a plethora of boxes for Richard Mitford-Slade’s charge who has won over further than this trip, has also claimed wins on heavy ground and is way below his highest winning mark. At odds of around 20/1 his price looks ridiculous and is sure to be finishing well when rivals are languishing and struggling to get home.

Honourable mentions for the likes of Éclair Mag and Little Red Lion who, if they feel like it’s their going day could finish in the mix as could the ever consistent Pemberley.

Of course the market leader Go Whatever deserves a whole heap of respect but this looks a much tougher race than the one they won three weeks ago and looks worth taking on at the current price.




Written by Rory Paddock


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