The UK and Irish horse racing schedule has its work cut out on Saturday trying to entice punters into an interest following a specular week at the Cheltenham Festival where we got excitement and drama aplenty.
It’s also the job of major bookmakers to lure us into a bet with many investing their festival bankroll without seeing too much of a return thanks to a series of upsets in the week’s biggest races. The best way to do that is by offering the kind of value we can’t ignore and that appears to be their main strategy this weekend.
You’d be forgiven for expecting a quieter than usual schedule but that’s not the case with a number of important races going to post on Saturday afternoon, including a couple on an eight-race card at Uttoxeter that gets started at 1.50pm and takes bettors through to a 5.50pm close.
Lady Riders Handicap Hurdle – Uttoxeter 1.50pm
The opening race at Uttoxeter and it’ll bring the curtain up in style. A Class 3 event and those betting on the outcome early found Kupatana as the ante-post favourite with no more than Unibet’s 9/2 available. That’s better than the 4/1 you’ll find elsewhere, so tread carefully if getting your cash on that one.
Paul Nicholls’ six-year-old mare has impressive stats of three wins and three runners up from 10 starts but she has failed to finish three of her last four goes, ending second in the spare. That run started when unseating her rider at Wincanton before falling at the same venue next time. She was second around Ludlow and came down again last time out. If she stays on her feet and is disciplined, then we’re sure she wins.
Novices’ Handicap Chase – Uttoxeter 2.25pm
The Brit Plant Direct Novices Handicap Chase is a Class 2 race run over three miles on ground that’s expected to be testing and we have a sizeable field expected at the time of writing. Behind Time did the business for Madden and Fry 12 months ago and traders seem at a loss to nail down the most likely winner of this renewal.
Each of the first three in the betting shared a 7/1 price tag in the ante-post list with Classic Ben, De Rasher Counter and Onefortheroadtom dominating the early exchanges. There’s a reason to fancy each of them to win this contest, especially with traders struggling to make their minds up but, on a week remembered for big priced winners, we’ll take another shot at a lively outsider.
An Exciting Runner
Lord Getaway is the runner to carry our stake and followers can get their hands on an exciting 10/1. This progressive seven-year-old gelding has won two of 10 previous starts, finishing as runner-up on another occasion. Each of his two victories has come in three starts, but he did fall last time when coming down in the novices limited handicap at Carlisle last month. We’ll forgive him that as, if it didn’t happen, he’d be a shorter price on the back of those two wins. Each-way players will get 1/4 the odds a place 1-2-3-4.
Handicap Hurdle – Uttoxeter 3.00pm
Another Class 2 and 2m 3f lies between the starting pack and a champion in this one. Up to 35 runners are expected to make a bid for the prize money but those numbers should be clipped between now and the off. Clyne scored for Adam Wedge and Evan Williams.
A Bold Run
This is another competitive encounter, certainly on paper, and there are no more than two points in the betting between the first four in the charts. The ante-post list is led by Bold Plan and Dr Sanderson who can be backed at 6/1 with Unibet, Acey Milan next in line at 7/1 and With Discretion judged to be an 8/1 poke. Again, we can see where the money men are coming from, but we will continue to be bold in our predictions
Magoo carries a 9/1 price at Unibet and that looks a worthwhile investment. The seven-year-old grey gelding runs out of the expert Paul Nicholls stable and that class should show towards the business end of this race. He has won once and finished second once in four starts and was last seen ending runner-up at Sandown behind Forza Milan in a 2m 3f handicap hurdle.
Midlands Grand National – Uttoxeter 3.35pm
We’re getting into Grand National season and this treat goes over 4m 2f and the weather forecast tells us we’re in for a real slog, so it will be worth backing the fittest horses who have been fairly treated of late. Regal Flow was last year’s champion for Houlihan and Buckler, but traders don’t expect anything near a repeat performance with a successful defence marked 40/1, top price when betting at Bet365.
A far more likely winner is Ms Parfois who flies the banner for owner Chapman and trainer Honeyball. The eight-year-old mare has finished in the top-three a dozen times from 15 goes with that run including no less than six wins. She completed a hat-trick when landing the prizemoney at Warwick over three miles last January but has suffered from an extended run of seconds since, finding only one too good in three of her last four, including behind Terrefort in the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase on her penultimate start. She last ran at Newbury in December but was disappointing that day.
First of the Year
A streak of seconds and this being her first run of the year may put some off, so we have picked out a couple of her main rivals at a nice price, perfect if you’re playing small stakes while hoping to land a big return. Ballydine sticks out as one deserving of a second look at 12/1 at William Hill and it’ll take some work to ignore the value about Chef Douvre who can be backed at 14/1 – top price with Ladbrokes.