Free betting tips for the races shown live on Channel 4. Coverage comes from both Newbury and Doncaster with the first race at 2.05pm.
This weekend Channel 4 brings Newbury and Doncaster to our screens and although the Cheltenham protagonists are wrapped in cotton wool the racing on offer looks competitive nonetheless.
The days’ feature race concludes the coverage at 3.50 with the Greatwood Gold Cup. SHANGANI (4/1 William Hill) has been in good form this season without ever doing quite enough to get his head in front. The form of Venetia Williams yard may not be quite as red hot as they were a few weeks ago but off a fair mark he has more than enough ability to win this. His latest effort at Kempton when trying to give 18lbs to a horse rated 8lbs his superior was monumental and by far his best effort of the season. A couple falling down the weights are Ulck Du Lin and Majala and in a relatively weak contest both must be considered. The former gets a tongue tie to help him out and is now 3lbs below his latest winning mark. He has looked a little short of speed over the minimum trip of late so this step up in trip could be the answer. The latter has been contesting far better quality races than this recently and, although he is yet to show his very best over this trip, his class may just see him through. Rebel Rebellion did as well as could be expected dropped down in trip last time. He was much improved in the headgear two starts back and the change from cheekpieces to blinkers may spark a little extra again.
The terrestrial coverage begins at 2.05 with a long distance handicap hurdle that looks short on quality. Promised Wings has yet to really fire this season but one only needs to look back to this time last year when he took apart a competitive handicap over C&D by fourteen lengths. The positive effect of the headgear appears to have worn off but running off just a couple of pounds higher than that win he is fairly enough treated and could put in a bold show. Brackloon High ran well here last time when third in a more competitive race but he is a tough ride, often off the bridle a long way from home while his only run in cheekpieces would hardly suggest they are a positive here. Who Owns Me ground out victory at Wetherby last time showing much better form back over hurdles. A 10lb rise is going to make this tougher, having been beaten off higher marks plenty of times over fences. He was one length in front of BILLY TWYFORD (5/1 Ladbrokes) at Warwick but Lawney Hill's runner should comfortably turn round that form here and he looks the one to be on with the booking of Tony McCoy naturally interesting given his great record when riding for this stable.
Veterans’ chases, while nice to see the old boys get another chance in the limelight, are often difficult to weigh up given that the majority are often regressive and there is no scope for improvement left. BURTON PORT (6/1 Coral) was once considered a lively e/w Gold Cup horse but has shown this season now back from injury that he is firmly on the downgrade. That said his effort at Doncaster ten days ago was by far his best of the season and with a further 4lb drop in the weights and an extra quarter mile in his favour is certainly of interest. Carruthers' win in the 2011 Hennessy was a great heart warming moment and he showed at Warwick last time that he is far from a back number only finding the spritelier legs of Shotgun Paddy too strong late on. This would certainly be an easier race than that and despite top weight he deserves consideration. Master Overseer was pulled up in that Warwick race and is the very epitome of a feast or famine horse. He could do with a spot more rain to be seen at his very best but at just 1lb above his most recent winning mark he is fairly enough treated. Summery Justice has run well enough in recent starts to believe he can at least get placed again while Tullamore Dew keeps his form admirably well considering his advancing years.
The two mile hurdle at 3.15 looks much easier than the races Jumps Road has been contesting this season. He travelled beautifully behind the likes of The New One, Zarkandar, Ptit Zig and Melodic Rendezvous on two of those occasions as well as running well here in a big handicap three weeks ago. He is 4lbs lower than that most recent run and is likely to be well there at the finish. TIQRIS (7/4 Coral) has been progressing well behind some smart novices including Grade 1 runner up, Josses Hill over C&D just before Christmas. His opening gambit of 129 looks fair and he is open to plenty more improvement. Seventh Sky returned to close to his best at Wincanton last time and still remains well enough treated. He has been placed plenty of times off similar marks and if able to come on a little more for his latest effort should go close. Kuda Huraa should be watched in the betting on a return from an absence. He makes his handicap debut off a very feasible mark and if ready to do himself justice is worth considering.
It's a Mares Listed contest to kick off the Doncaster coverage over 3m. LAYLA JOAN (13/8 BetVictor) is a very interesting runner for Gordon Elliot, making the trip over from Ireland. She has already made two successful raids on these shores this season, both at Ayr over a slightly shorter trip. It's debatable exactly what she beat in those contests but she did it readily and deserves the chance in this higher grade. Toubeera is another who has found improvement in almost every outing this season victorious on five occasions including in a Grade 2 last time. That win means that she has a penalty to carry here and giving that weight to her main rivals is going to prove tough. Cannon Fodder is another who has been in top form this year, her improvement coming mainly in handicap company. She is more than two stone higher than when she started the season but the progression doesn't appear over yet. This is by far her toughest assignment but she lacks nothing in heart and should give it her best shot. Mayfair Music is the least exposed in the lineup but has already been successful on two of her three career starts. She won comfortably on her hurdling debut at Wincanton and the runner up winning next time out has provided the form with a nice boost.
The 2.55 is a trappy 2m chase where the weights are headed by Simply Ned who won over C&D last time. He has been progressing well this season and looks as if he is capable of picking up a race of this nature off the new mark. TURN OVER SIVOLA (4/1 BetVictor) has been disappointing in a couple of handicap runs having looked very promising when not beaten far by smart novices Dodging Bullets and Hinterland on his first two outings over fences. If returning to that level of form here he would have strong claims off 130 and is worth giving another chance. Lucky Landing was in great heart when last seen in the autumn and has been waiting for better ground to come along. Whether he will be cherry ripe first time back in a better race is debatable so a bigger threat to the selection may come from Lidar. Stablemate of Turn Over Sivola he will be well suited by the ground and on a few bits of placed form is certainly well enough handicapped but with stable jockey opting for the selection we will back his judgement.
The Grimthorpe chase is always a competitive affair and this looks no different. Court By Surprise has improved for the step up in trip this season in a couple of competitive handicaps. He does have a tendency to get placed rather than win though and with another 4lbs on his back here he is more of a bet for each way purposes. Real Milan has been a bit of a disappointment this season having been an above average novice last season. If capable of coming back to that level of form this time around he would be very well in off his current mark and is certainly worth watching in the betting. Harry The Viking is on a feasible mark and with both if his chase wins having come here he is very interesting off bottom weight. He needs to find more to get his head in front but his latest effort was very much a step in the right direction. MONBEG DUDE (9/2 Stan James) continues to improve at a rate of knots and may take another hike in his stride here. This wouldn't be the strongest race in terms of recent form with five of his eleven opponents having been pulled up in their most recent start and with a couple of front runners he should get the test of stamina he requires.
2.05 Newbury – BILLY TWYFORD (5/1 Ladbrokes)
2.20 Doncaster – LAYLA JOAN (13/8 BetVictor)
2.40 Newbury – BURTON PORT (6/1 Coral)
2.55 Doncaster – TURN OVER SIVOLA (4/1 BetVictor)
3.15 Newbury – TIQRIS (7/4 Coral)
3.30 Doncaster – MONBEG DUDE (9/2 Stan James)
3.50 Newbury – SHANGANI (4/1 William Hill)
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