Saturday Horse Racing Preview & Tips – 16th January– Seymour Biz

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It’s what can only be described as a thin weekend on the racing front with televised races from Market Rasen and Warwick. The Lincolnshire course is an unusual one to have the cameras in attendance and I’m sure they are glad to have their place in the spotlight but the quality of the racing leaves something to be desired.

There are three to be shown, including two Class 2 hurdles and a Class 1 National Hunt Flat race. Not much to get the juices flowing there.

We have better fare at Warwick with one of their top meetings of the year at the Midland track from where there are four televised races. Two of these are Class 1 races for novices, one hurdle and one chase. Added to these are a Pertemps qualifier and finally a Grand National trial.

I know it is the time of the year when trainers have their eyes on Cheltenham in March and are protecting their horses in readiness for that. However, this sort of competition and prize money will not encourage them to get the horsebox out of the garage. That said, these races are there to be won and I have looked through the cards to try and find some value and here are my thoughts for this week’s Lucky Fifteen

Saturday Lucky Fifteen
2.40 Market Rasen. On The Blind Side
2.25 Warwick. Pure Bliss
3.00 Warwick. Notachance
3.35 Warwick. Kepagge
Bet this lucky 15 now on Bet365

I begin with the 2.40 at Market Rasen, the Mansionbet’s Bet 10 Get 20 Hurdle where Neil King has routed Lil Rockerfeller in preference for the big chase at Warwick. This horse was good enough to take third in a Grade 2 at Ascot in November 2019 but didn’t run after that until turning up for a handicap hurdle at Newbury in November last year. But even after a 12 months break, he was still good enough to finish runner-up with lumps of weight on his back.

But I can’t help thinking King is only using this race as a stepping stone to the Grand National and I don’t think he will have the speed for this.

Nicky Richards has a nice pair of runners in Chidswell and Looking Well and I prefer the former, who ran a good third in Listed company a year ago, he may be placed.

Dan Skelton’s Mohaayed has been consistent this season but may have to settle for a place again as Nicky Henderson has On The Blind Side entered. He finished in front of Mohaayed at Cheltenham in December and is now 5lbs better off. Since then, he has run a fine second at Kempton last week in a Grade 2 contest and if Henderson considers him ready to turn out so quickly after that run, he must have a fine chance.

Moving to Warwick, the 2.25 is the Ballymore Leamington Novices Hurdle and most of these contenders have won at lower grades and are now looking to step up in class before Cheltenham.

Tom Lacey has high hopes for Adrimel who is a dual winner already this season but he steps up in class and distance. He was found out when running in last season’s Festival bumper.

Jay Bee Why runs for Alan King and he won over this course and distance last month. King says he has been kept for this and he will take some beating, but there will be plenty knocking at the door.

David Pipe’s Make Me A Believer will be one of those. His win in the novice hurdle at Cheltenham last month was an excellent one, but it remains to be seen if he can carry on that good work.

Optimise Prime is a dual winner this season for Ben Pauling but those wins have been in poor contests at Hereford.

I will go for Harry Fry’s Pure Bliss who has won four of her five contests. On the only occasion she lost, she was pulled up with a breathing problem. That has now been cured and she has won twice since over hurdles. Added to that is her mare’s allowance so the rest of the field has to give her 7lbs and that should make the difference here.

The Mccoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Handicap Chase is at 3.00 and there are several Grand National hopefuls entered for this trial.

Alan King has another highly-fancied gelding here at his favourite course in the shape of Notachance. King has been singing his praises and admitted he has been aimed at this since winning at Bangor in November.

Last year’s second Captain Chaos from Dan Skelton’s yard returns for another crack but his form this season has been abysmal and he is unlikely to figure this year.

Jonjo O’Neill’s Django Django beat Notachance 12 months ago at Newbury but he is another whose form has taken a backward step this year.

Storm Control has won twice this season at Cheltenham for trainer Kerry Lee, latterly a Grade 3 off a very low weight. He is sure to go well and may well reach a place.

I will mention Ian Williams’s Red Infantry who has not been seen for 15 months. I’m sure his trainer will have him fit and while he is probably best watched, he is a course winner and may be worth a small e/w investment, but I will stick with Notachance.

At 3.35 it is the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle where Come On Teddy is highly fancied. Tom George’s gelding ran out of the frame first time out this season at Uttoxeter but came out at Cheltenham and won going away. I am not sure the course will suit him and I think connections will not want him to have a hard time as he has a return to Cheltenham in his headlights.

Tobefair has top weight for trainer Debra Hamer. He had two Class 2 wins in 2019 and has been highly tried since. He was dropped in class on his last outing at Hereford where he was caught out by the heavy ground and could finish only second but he has a lot of weight here.

Dan Skelton’s Ardlethen didn’t get very far at Ascot last time out, falling at the second. I can’t help thinking he has been sent here more to get his confidence back than winning the race.

So, I will go for David Pipe’s Kepagge who was a triple winner last season. He ran fourth on his seasonal reappearance in November at Cheltenham where he was running on after the last. He will come on for that race and Pipe will have him spot-on for this.

Saturday Lucky Fifteen
2.40 Market Rasen. On The Blind Side
2.25 Warwick. Pure Bliss
3.00 Warwick. Notachance
3.35 Warwick. Kepagge
Bet this lucky 15 now on Bet365

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