We’ve teamed up with BetVictor to preview the day’s racing.
The draw has been made for both the All-Weather Finals at Lingfield on Good Friday and Dubai World Cup night at Meydan the following day and I have supported Godolphin’s Benbatl (7/2 at BetVictor) in the Dubai Turf with his draw in stall five ideal.
The selection missed the break, was drawn wide and covered 13 metres further than winner Blair House in a Group 1 over C&D last time. In the circumstances, the Saeed Bin Suroor colt did extremely well to be beaten less than a length and I feel he could be top class back on turf this summer.
They go at Wetherby this afternoon where the ground is given as soft with further showers forecast.
Casual Cavalier has dropped to a winning mark and hinted at a return to his best form when beaten four lengths at Newcastle when last seen at the end of January. The 10-year-old is 1lb lower than last time and would have got the vote had it not been for the form of the George Bewley yard who are without a win from 55 runners this season.
Glance Back (3.05) jumped slightly out to his left when scoring at Leicester last time and he should appreciate today’s left-hand track. A 4lbs rise looks fair, given that was only his second chase start although the selection needs to improve again to take this slightly stronger contest. He certainly has the scope to make a better chaser than hurdler.
Anything that Tom Lacey saddles at the moment is worth more than a passing glance and his mare Isle Of Ewe (3.40) was backed into favouritism when running as if she would come on for her belated seasonal reappearance at Market Rasen last month. She is 1lbs lower this afternoon and steps back up in trip today having won over 2m 4f on her penultimate start at Southwell in August 2016 albeit on good ground.
Richard Johnson rides the Lacey-trained mare and is in the plate for Bob Mahler (4.15) who has had a wind operation since finishing second at Newcastle when a shade of odds on at Newcastle when last seen at the end of January.
Rhaegar goes unpenalised for winning a conditional jockey’s event at Chepstow in December and is, arguably, a winner without a penalty but he was a bitter disappointment last time although he has been given a fair break since that Wincanton run.
Blakemount is on a decent mark for his seasonal reappearance, but might be best watched until the ground dries out - although a check of the market is recommended in the 3m Handicap Chase. The form of the Rebecca Menzies stable outs me off Nortonthorpelegend and the vote goes to Wings Attract (4.45) having his first start for Dan Skelton.
The selection is another who would prefer better ground but he has had his wind tweaked since leaving Olly Williams and he would have been something to bet on had it not been for the recent rain. The hope is that he can cope with underfoot conditions – he is certainly one to keep on the right side of.
The Bay Birch (4.55) ran into a rejuvenated Wizards Bridge (4.55) at Chepstow last time but he was a good winner over C&D on his penultimate start and is 3lbs ‘well-in’ following that run in south Wales.
Valseur Lido holds an entry in the Grand National (40/1 with BetVictor) and he is favoured by the weights in the two-and-a-half-mile chase at Clonmel despite giving weight to his four rivals. He must go close but I just favour the novice Koshari (4.20) in a decent little race for Willie Mullins and Robbie Power.
The selection won on his chase debut before finishing runner up to stablemate Invitation Only in a Punchestown Grade 3 on his penultimate start. The six-year-old’s jumping did not hold up in Grade 1 company last time but he can give the favourite plenty to think about in receipt of 4lbs over this trip on ground described as heavy.
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