Newmarket, Cheltenham, Beverley, Sedgefield and Wolverhampton come under the spotlight as Templegate gives you his best bets for the day
1.50 NEWMARKET: Give the bookies both barrels with GUNMETAL.
He dropped right out on his Doncaster return but he was on the unfavoured stands’ side that day. I’m confident he will sharpen up for the run and last season’s form gives him a fine chance. It’s also encouraging to see Charlie Hills’ team running so well.
Mont Kiara is another likely to improve for his return to action. He made some nice late progress at Wolverhampton and he is nicely treated on his win at Newmarket’s July Course last season.
Dark Defender is also well weighted but he will probably need softer ground to show his best.
Normandy Barriere won three times last year. He should still be competitive this season and he won first time out in 2015.
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2.25 NEWMARKET: Go for hot Rod.
RODAINI completed a four-timer last season when landing a Doncaster Listed contest. Nothing went right when fancied for a Newmarket Group 3 and his wide draw was no good at the Breeders’ Cup in America. This should pan out much better and I’ve no doubt former Godolphin supremo Simon Crisford is a top-class trainer.
Sir Dancealot is sure to be popular. He was far from disgraced in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy but I’m not a fan of horses that like to come from way off the pace at this track.
Seven Heavens has plenty of class. If the hood helps to calm him down in the early stages he should have a decent shout.
I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Majeste but he does need to prove he truly stays this far.
2.40 CHELTENHAM: Champion trainer Paul Nicholls looks likely to lose his crown but his ART MAURESQUE should at least throw a few more quid in the coffers.
He beat useful Double Shuffle at Chepstow in October and has faced some stiff tasks since.
My fancy was runner-up to Voix D’Eau in this race 12 months ago and is worse off at the weights with Harry Fry’s hope. But the tables were turned at Chepstow and Voix D’Eau hasn’t shown much since.
Starchitect ran well at the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree. He will get the strong pace he likes and he must have a chance.
Conor McGregor arrives in style at Aintree for the Grand National after getting a private jet AND a Rolls Royce
Matt Chapman’s racing tips for ITV’s racing from Lingfield and Newcastle this Friday
American sprinter Lady Aurelia will have her Royal Ascot prep run at Keeneland on Saturday
result of the day
All 40 horses that ran in the 2017 Grand National have returned safely, officials confirm
The weights for the 2017 Grand National have been released with Gordon Elliott having ELEVEN horses guaranteed a run
DANDY’S A GENIUS
Retiring trainer Dandy Nicholls labelled a “genius” by son and former jockey Adrian
Off colour Lil Rockerfeller won’t defend his National Spirit Hurdle crown at Fontwell today
3.00 NEWMARKET: I’m voting for AUTOCRATIC.
He was progressive in handicaps last season and is just the type of horse Sir Michael Stoute excels with. My fancy signed off last season with a York success and it’s not hard to think he’s up to this level. It’s also good to see Stoute start the season so well.
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby saddled the winner of the Wood Ditton yesterday but he’s not had such a flying start.
His Folkswood and Viren’s Army have been running well at Meydan but I’m usually wary of Dubai form.
Abdon – a Stoute Stablemate of Autocratic – is likely to be a player at this level at some point. But he tends to pull too hard and Frankie Dettori will have his hands full trying to settle him at the rear.
Templegate’s TV Tips
- 1.50 Newmarket – Gunmetal
- 2.25 Newmarket – Rodaini
- 2.40 Cheltenham – Art Mauresque
- 3.00 Newmarket – Autocratic
- 3.35 Newmarket – Poet’s Vanity
3.35 NEWMARKET: It’s not hard to make a case for POET’S VANITY.
She won a Salisbury maiden by a whopping 10 lengths in September and went on to land a course-and-distance Group 3 contest the following month.
Andrew Balding’s filly promises to be even better this season and he prominent style of racing should be a help.
Sea Of Grace has some smart form. She won a Curragh Group 3 last season when trained by John Oxx. But that was over a mile and this trip might well be on the short side on her debut for William Haggas.
Pamplemousse easily won on the all-weather in France two weeks ago. It’s impossible to know how good she is but Andre Fabre rarely sends anything over that isn’t up to the job.
Aidan O’Brien’s Brave Anna and Roly Poly – first and second in the Cheveley Park Stakes – are others worth considering.