We have another competitive Saturday afternoon of British and Irish horse racing in store as punters look to boost their betting balance in time for an assault on the fast-approaching Cheltenham Festival which gets underway in under three weeks. Here are our Feb 23 horse racing betting tips.
Fairyhouse stages an attractive card that’ll see a couple of Grade 3 contests settled but the main attraction of the day goes at Kempton where four graded races are included in the seven legs, three Grade 2 contests and a Grade 3 affair.
There’s plenty to hold the attention of followers of the sport and bookmakers have priced up their books early to ensure you can back your opinions with cash and aim to make a profit from the occasion. Bet on the winner of each race and budge your profit/loss margin in the right direction or throw a few predictions together in a multiple and target a big pay-out.
Our team of horse racing experts preview the day’s best races and offer views on which runners deserve your stake money, as well as the bookmakers offering best price on the day’s most popular runners and riders.
Pendil Novices Chase – 1.50pm
Traders seem at a loss to nail down the most likely winner of this race, judging by their ante-post betting market and there’s no more than two points between the first five in the betting. Secret Investor shares favouritism with Bags Groove, both runners currently doing the rounds at 3/1 with bet365.
The former has won three and finished second six times from 10 starts but has found one too good in each of his last two and that’s a bit of a worry. The latter has more experience in the winner’s enclosure, claiming eight of 17 with five seconds. Was fifth last time out in the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices Chase and looks a better bet, but we’ll take both on.
The runner to carry our stake money in the first big race of the day is Capeland, available at 4/1 with Bet365 at the time of writing. The French-bred seven-year-old gelding goes for the Paul Nicholls yard and arrives at course having finished outside of the first three only twice in a 16-race career. He was second behind Darebin in the Unibet Handicap Chase earlier this year and finished 2018 with victory around Ludlow over 1m 7f. We’ll need to see another step up in class from this horse, but the price makes him easy to back and we’ll play for interest stakes.
Adonis Juvenile Hurdle – 2.25pm
Another open contest and another we’re happy to go against the traders and have a punt on one at a nice price. Cracker Factory is the pick for us and Bet365 customers will get their hands on an eye-catching 7/1, most of the competition stuck around the 6/1 mark.
A Promising Runner
The four-year-old gelding has blown hot and cold at times during his career so far but he’s a progressive sort and a big year is expected from him, starting here. We saw glimpses of his ability when winning a juvenile hurdle over two miles at Wetherby late last year and he’ll arrive at track fit and sharp with connections confident in his ability to go close. With question marks hanging over a few shorter than him in the betting, we’ll have a nibble.
Dovecote Novices Hurdle – 3.00pm
Bookmakers are keen to keep on the right side of Angel’s Breath in this race and there’s no more than Unibet’s 2/1 available about a runner priced 7/4 elsewhere. That came as no surprise to us as Nicky Henderson’s five-year-old grey made a winning debut at Ascot just before Christmas when claiming a Supreme Trial Novices Hurdle. This runner has experts excited and he’ll go to Kempton looking to put the finishing touches to his Cheltenham Festival preparations.
It’s not too often you’ll see us side with a one race favourite, but he beat runner-up Danny Kirwan by 4 ½ lengths that day when being sent off a 6/4 jolly and those in the know seem to be very keen on this one. A festival win will be the priority, but handlers will want to see a polished performance here to convince them he’s ready for a crack at the big time. Worth a place in your accumulators.
888Sport Handicap Chase – 3.35pm
Odds makers have Glen Rocco as market leader for this race and there’s no more than Bet365’s 7/2 available at the time of writing. The eight-year-old won last time out around here when beating Bally Longford by an incredible 23 lengths, Barney Dwan a further 10 behind back in third. He made a mockery of the field over three miles on that occasion, living up to his 11/4 SP, and then some.
A better class of opponent here, but a return to track and trip so quickly means they must be confident of doing something similar this weekend. We can see why traders have him at the head of the market and there’s no real reason to take them on. We suggest backing Glen Rocco and there’s enough of a price and enough quality there to merit a punt as a super single, or as part of your accas.
Am Alternative Option
Those looking for an interest at a punter friendly price should allow their eyes to drift down the chart to Rather Be who rates as a value play at 12/1. The reason we say that is many respected firms have him at 8/1 and that’s quite a difference. If you can back an 8/1 at 12/1, we’d say do it as often as possible and watch your annual profit grow.
Rather Be, another from the talented Henderson string, hasn’t been seen winning since February of last year but this will be his first outing of 2019 and we expect connections have done what they can to time his comeback in the best way possible, giving him a chance at getting back on track. Each-way backers will get 1/4 the odds a place 1-2-3-4 with most firms.