Saturday’s Horse Racing Preview & Tips- 2nd March 2024 – Seymour Biz

saturday horse racing tips and previews from expert tipster seymour biz on everytipFind all previous Seymour Biz racing previews in his weekly column: Saturday Horse Racing Tips.
We have some excellent pre-Cheltenham racing this Saturday. Perhaps owners and trainers consider that there is some decent prize money on offer, and while the Festival races are very prestigious, they are not the be-all and end-all.

The three meetings covered by ITV Racing this week are at Kelso, Newbury and Doncaster, with nine races being televised.

The once-a-year coverage of Kelso appears to be the main card, with four races being covered, two of which are Class 1’s. The first two races on the card at Newbury are shown, the first being a Veterans Chase and the second the Class 1 Greatwood Chase – top-class racing.

Not to be outdone, Doncaster has three fine contests, two handicaps and a Listed Class 1. So we have some really good competitive fare on offer in the run-up to the festival, and here are my thoughts and this week’s Lucky Fifteen.

Saturday Lucky Fifteen
1.20 Newbury. Fortescue
1.55 Newbury. Grandeur d’Ame
1.42 Kelso. Pentland Hills
2.50 Kelso. Skycutter
Bet this lucky 15 now on Bet365

The first race on the Newbury card is the Bet In-Running On Racing At BetVictor Veterans Handicap Chase, a Class 2 contest run over 3m 2f. The top weight here is Fergal O’Brien’s Highland Hunter, who is on his way to the Grand National, where he unseated his rider at The Chair last year. He ran well at Haydock last month but has a lot of weight here.

Alex Hales’s Omar Maretti won at Catterick, his favourite course, last month, but he is up against better opponents here.

Evan Williams’s Secret Reprieve is having his first run of the season. His target is the Midlands National, and he is best watched.

Commodore is having his first run for a year for trainer Venetia Williams and is another who may need the run.

The bookie’s choice is Joe Tizzard’s Copperhead, who comes here with a featherweight. He is a course and distance winner, but that was five years ago. His form this season reads well but he hasn’t visited the winner’s enclosure for four years and there are better horses in this race.

In this company I give Henry Daly’s Fortescue another chance. He ran a fair second at Haydock just before New Year and disappointed at Sandown in unsuitable conditions last time, but this previous Listed race winner is better than that run. I take him to win this.

At 1.55, it is the BetVictor Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase, a Grade 3 race run over 2m 4f. Top weight here is Ryan Potter’s stable star Jetoile; two wins at Chepstow at the end of last season were franked by him winning a Grade 2 at Aintree on his seasonal reappearance in October. He ran a fair fourth at Cheltenham in January but he gives a lot of weight away here.

There’s a lot to like about Paul Nicholls’s Kandoo Kid who was a course and distance winner in December and has shown good form all season except for last time at the end of January at Kempton when he was pulled up, that is a worry.

Venetia Williams’s Gemirande has finished in the first two in all six of his races this season, winning twice, which is some feat, but he is yet to be successful in Graded company. This could be his opportunity.

Tom Lacey’s Highstakesplayer won a Class 3 at Kempton last month his first run for 14 months but this is a huge step up in class, a place finish is the best he can hope for.

I prefer Alan King’s Grandeur d’Ame, who unluckily unseated his rider at Cheltenham on Trials Day in January. He never got very far that day. His misfortune came at the first fence. He had previously run a good fourth in a Grade 3 at the same venue in December, and his trainer is talking up his chances after that run, and this race has been on his radar since.

Moving north of the border to Kelso for their big meeting of the season, I will start with the bet365 Handicap Hurdle at 1.42. This is a Class 2 contest run over 2m 5f. This is a very close betting heat where the top weight is Olly Murphy’s Brewin’upastorm, a dual Graded winner. He ran third at Cheltenham in a Grade 2 on New Years Day and despite his weight he is sure to go close here.

Jonjo O’Neill’s Itso Fury come here on the back of a victory at Wincanton last November, a repetition of that form will see him go close.

Lucinda Russell’s Serious Operator won at Doncaster in December, then ran fifth in a big field at Kempton after losing a shoe.

Nicky Richard’s The Kalooki Kid has won two small races this season but was found wanting when trying his luck in Graded company in January at Doncaster.

I prefer Nicky Henderson’s Pentland Hills, who was second behind Serious Operator at Doncaster, giving him 25 lbs. There are only 16 lbs between the two this time.

After withdrawing him at Kempton last week, Henderson will be hoping for better ground for Pentland Hills.

The 2.50 is the bet365 Morebattle Hurdle, a Class 2 contest run over 2 miles. There will be a lot of trainers and owners eyeing this race as if the winner goes onto Cheltenham and wins there also, they will pick up a £100,000 bonus.

I am quite surprised there is just one Irish runner in the lineup- Denis Hogans’ Little Mixup- who produced a career-best performance to win at Thurles in January. I’m not sure what to expect from him the betting may produce a clue.

Sandy Thomson’s Benson won this last year, carrying 9 lbs less than he has today. He ran a good third at Musselburgh last month and should go well.

Nicky Henderson has sent Under Control here after he ran a good second in a Grade 2 at Doncaster last month. He can be placed under a big burden.

James Moffatt’s Bingoo had not been winning away from Hexham until being sent to Aintree in December and came out on top. He can make the frame.

Dr R Newland and J Insole’s Rewired has won two small races at Taunton and Doncaster, but this is a big step up.

Kerry Lee’s Black Hawk Eagle has also won his last two at Wincanton and Hereford, and his latest victory shows he is capable of figuring here.

My thoughts are with Dan Skelton’s Skycutter, who was useful on the flat. He won comfortably at Carlisle last month and can win this, but the Irish raider looks dangerous.

Saturday Lucky Fifteen
1.20 Newbury. Fortescue
1.55 Newbury. Grandeur d’Ame
1.42 Kelso. Pentland Hills
2.50 Kelso. Skycutter
Bet this lucky 15 now on Bet365

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