‘Deadly’ Double, Friday, February 12

wetherbyIn the 4.40 at Wetherby on Friday, the step up to 2 miles 5 furlongs and beyond appears to have been the making of Navanman and David Pipe’s 7-year-old can complete a quick-fire hat-trick. A maiden after six starts, the Well Chosen gelding was a ready winner over 2 miles 5 furlongs at Towcester eight days ago and once again won very easily under a 7lb penalty over 2 miles 7½ furlongs at Fakenham four days later. A further 7lb penalty is offset by Michael Heard’s 7lb claim and, despite 12st 7lb, Navanman is clearly improving at a rate of knots and hard to oppose.

In the 3.35, bumper winner Lake View Lad parted company with jockey Stephen Mulqueen on his first two starts over hurdles, but made amends at Ayr last month, when quickening clear on the run-in to win by 5 lengths. The son of high-class jumps sire Oscar carries a 7lb penalty for that victory, but is due to go up 9lb in the ratings, so looks one to follow in novice hurdles.

Selections: Wetherby 4.40 Navanman, Wetherby 3.35 Lake View Lad, 1-point Win Double

‘Deadly’ Double, Wednesday, February 3

HorsesIn the Phoenix Security Novices’ Handicap Chase (1.30) at Newcastle, Mysteree proved no match for Askamore Darsi and Lovely Job at Doncaster last month, when his jumping rather went to pieces in the closing stages but, with the winner following up in a better race, off a 5lb higher mark, at Sedgefield on Saturday, he may be able to concede weight to three chasing debutantes. It’s worth noting that Golans Choice and The Orange Rogue both won in the point-to-point sphere, but Mysteree can put his experience of regulation fences to good use.

In the Homecare Plus Novices’ Chase (2.35), Pain Au Chocolat won a couple of times over hurdles for Alan King last season and got off the mark over fences for new trainer Dan Skelton at the second time of asking at Haydock in December. His 1¼-length defeat of the 137-rated Aso on that occasion was a smart effort and, with 15lb and upwards in hand of his rivals according to official ratings, he cannot be opposed.

Selections: Newcastle 1.30 Mysteree, Newcastle 2.35 Pain Au Chocolat, 1-point Win Double

‘Deadly’ Double, Thursday, January 28

warwickIn the 3.30 at Warwick on Thursday, Surtee Du Berlais had her limitations exposed, to an extent, at Taunton late last year, but her previous 5-length beating of Tara Flow at Uttoxeter in November reads well in light of the subsequent exploits of the runner-up and she can return to winning ways. She has her stamina to prove over 2 miles 5 furlongs, but still appears the one to beat, despite a double penalty.

In the 3.50 at Southwell, Final made a promising debut on Fibresand when staying on well to finish second, beaten 1½ lengths, behind Llewellyn over 7 furlongs last week and, with the step up to a mile almost certainly in his favour, can get off the mark for the season. Mark Johnston’s 4-year-old didn’t see a racecourse until last February, so remains open to significant improvement after just three career starts. The Middleham Moor trainer has a very healthy 17-63 (27%) strike rate with his older horses at Southwell over the last five seasons and stable jockey Joe Fanning heads to the Nottinghamshire track for just one ride on the day, so Final appears to have plenty going for him.

Selections: Warwick 3.30 Surtee Du Berlais, Southwell 3.50 Final (1-point Win Double)

‘Peerless’ Patent, Thursday, January 21

racing-treblesA couple of winners and a non-runner in last week’s trixie has done our confidence no harm so, once again, this week we’ve selected three horses that we hope will be gracing the winners’ enclosure with their presence on Thursday.

The first of them, Fujin, runs in the opening 12.40 at Southwell and can confirm earlier course and distance form with Fortinbrass on identical terms. Shaun Harris’ five-year-old made all to beat his old rival by 2¼ lengths in December and, having run creditably in defeat off his revised mark at Wolverhampton on both subsequent starts, there appears no reason why it shouldn’t be a similar story this time.

Five times course winner Kung Hei Fat Choy hasn’t been at his best lately, but showed signs of resurgence when third of eight, beaten 8½ lengths, in a claiming stakes race over a mile early in the New Year and is too well treated in the 2.55 to ignore. The Elusive Quality gelding was only beaten 1½ lengths, off a 1lb higher mark, in a 0-95 handicap over course and distance in March and has 9lb and upwards in hand of his rivals.

In the 3.30, Billy Bond hacked up by 13 lengths over course and distance last week and cannot realistically be opposed under a 6lb penalty, especially dropping back into 0-65 company. The Monsieur Bond gelding is likely to face a hike in the weights once the handicapper has his say, but can strike again while the iron is hot.

Let’s hope that this week’s trixie goes a step better than the last. It won’t be long now before we start turning our gaze towards tips opportunities around the Cheltenham Festival and Grand National, so exciting times ahead.

Selections: Southwell 12.40 Fujin, Southwell 2.55 Kung Hei Fat Choy, Southwell 3.30 Billy Bond, 1-point Win Patent (3 x 1-point Win Singles, 3 x 1-point Win Doubles, 1 x 1-point Win Treble)

‘Treasured’ Trixie, Thursday, January 14

trixie-betNosey Barker has reportedly been working well since making all to win his maiden, over 1 mile 2 furlongs, at Lingfield 15 days ago and could be the answer to the 2.00 at Southwell on Thursday. Richard Hannon’s four-year-old has run creditably in defeat on both previous starts on Fibresand and his earlier form over a mile suggests he won’t be inconvenienced by dropping back in distance.

Sprint handicaps aren’t usually the most reliable source of winners, especially for multiple bets, but Bring On A Spinner was well supported when winning his maiden over course and distance, on just his second start, on New Year’s Day and doesn’t look overburdened on his handicap debut in the 3.05. The Kheleyf gelding is 6lb worse off for 2 lengths with Koothrappali, but may have more scope for improvement than David Barron’s colt, who’s already had six starts.

Luke Morris has ridden Masqueraded to both career victories, so it’s interesting that he switches allegiance to Cape Of Glory in the 3.40. The son of Cape Cross makes his Fibresand debut, but was a convincing winner over 1 mile 2 furlongs at Chelmsford earlier this month and doesn’t look badly treated if taking to the surface on his handicap debut.

Selections: Southwell 2.00 Nosey Barker, Southwell 3.05 Bring On A Spinner, Southwell 3.40 Cape Of Glory, 1-point Win Trixie (3 x 1-point Win Doubles, 1 x 1-point Win Treble)