Carlisle, Musselburgh, Newton Abbot, Kempton, Haydock, Brighton and Stratford all come under the spotlight as Steve Mullen tries to find a host of winners on a busy Saturday
MAKE a SHREWD move in the Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh (3.35).
Shrewd is a tough nut over this distance on fast ground as he showed when finishing an excellent second in the Ebor at York last season.
That’s the hottest of red-hot handicaps and it takes a gutsy effort to finish in the frame. He comes here 1lb lower in the weights than that run — and he has shown some good form since.
On the plus side, he was a close-up third in a marathon handicap at Newmarket in September. That was all the better because he was blocked a couple of times while trying to throw down his challenge.
It earned him a crack at the Cesarewitch where he was far from disgraced in coming home 12th of the 33-strong field. There was a feeling that 2m2f was a little bit on the testing side, especially after running some big races right through the season.
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This drop back to 1m6f helps on the stamina front and his six-month break is no problem as he’s gone well fresh before.
These Cup races are one of the highlights of the Flat season with plenty of old campaigners coming back year after year.
Soldier In Action could have a bright future at this level after joining Mark Johnston from jumps trainer Nicky Henderson.
He will prefer this to the Triumph Hurdle he contested last time when those twiggy things across the track got in the way.
There’s was lots to like about his form over middle-distances last term, with a particularly impressive win at Goodwood in October.
He’s 11lb higher in the weights for that but his efforts over hurdles should have toughened him up and you would expect improvement as he gets older.
Likely favourite Isharah comes from the same stable and has been in cracking form on the all-weather this winter. He is likely to find this tougher back on the green stuff but could be well handicapped.
TWIN APPEAL can kick the day off with a winner in Musselburgh’s 1.50.
He comes here fresh from a successful campaign on the all-weather that saw him hit the frame at Newcastle and Southwell.
But it’s his turf form that makes him a leading prospect for this. Although he didn’t manage to win last season he put in some good efforts when third at Doncaster in November. That was on the back of his best effort, which came at York a month earlier.
He was beaten a neck there over this 7f trip on the Knavesmire after hitting the front much too soon. He managed to stay in front to within the post’s shadow before being collared.
The handicapper has been fair since, with a 6lb rise since then giving him every chance.
Penwortham would be a major danger if fit after seven months off. He finished last term with a gutsy win at Chester and this is very much his best distance.
Matt Chapman’s racing tips for ITV’s racing from Lingfield and Newcastle this Friday
DANDY’S A GENIUS
Retiring trainer Dandy Nicholls labelled a “genius” by son and former jockey Adrian
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Gordon Elliott is responsible for ten of the 30 runners in Monday’s Irish National at Fairyhouse
Conor McGregor arrives in style at Aintree for the Grand National after getting a private jet AND a Rolls Royce
American sprinter Lady Aurelia will have her Royal Ascot prep run at Keeneland on Saturday
JAZZ IT UP
Marco Botti reports Aljazzi is in great form ahead of the Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes at Kempton
‘I KNEW I HAD A BIG PROBLEM’
Freddy Tylicki explains from hospital bed how paralysis will not dampen his work ethic
Racing Tips – Matt Chapman’s TV Tips for Ascot, Wincanton and Haydock on Saturday, February 18
Alice Springs confirmed herself as one of the leading fillies with victory in the Sun Chariot
SUMMER ICON is worth an each-way bet in Kempton’s Snowdrop Stakes (3.45).
There’s no doubt that Laugh Aloud looks to have a touch of class and is the one to beat. But she’s pretty short in the betting and may need this comeback after 204 days off.
Summer Icon has run well before around Kempton — which plenty of horses just don’t take to.
She finished third here twice last season. It was the second of those efforts that puts her in the frame for this. Her rider asked plenty of her by dropping her right out and trying to come with a late rattle.
The tactics almost worked but the front two had gone too far clear in front. She might have won in a few more strides and lessons should have been learned about tactics with this race in mind.
She looked pretty rusty on her comeback run at Wolverhampton last time which looked like a nice loosener for this. It might be asking a bit to win but — at double-figure odds — she has every chance of making the frame.
2.40 Moss On The Mill
3.15 Midnight Maestro
3.50 Late Night Lily
4.20 Wicked Willy
5.30 Abracadabra Sivola
2.35 Robot Boy
3.10 Fast Track
3.45 Summer Icon
4.50 Executive Force
5.25 Higher Power
1.50 Twin Appeal
2.25 Monsieur Joe
4.05 Rockin Fella
4.40 Whats The Story
5.10 One Boy
1.45 Officer Hoolihan
2.15 Wolf Sword
2.50 Princess Mononoke
3.25 Presenting Junior
4.00 Midnight Request
5.00 The Vocalist
1.55 Dothraki Raider
2.30 Little Miss Poet
3.40 Amour De Nuit
4.45 Ice Konig
5.15 Mon Parrain
4.35 Jumira Bridge
5.05 Little Miss Daisy
5.35 King Of Paris
6.05 Inniscastle Lad
6.35 Becca Campbell
7.05 Willy Rumpus
7.35 Panther Patrol
5.20 Little Chunk
6.20 Fitz Volonte
6.50 Whispering Storm
7.20 Time And Again
7.50 Rendl Beach