Today’s Racing Preview – The Big Races At Ayr, Bath And Newbury!

Junior Back Jumping At Ayr!

Friday will certainly be busy, with meetings at Ayr, Bath, Fontwell, Newbury and Southwell. Ayr looks the pick, with 7 good races including the Listed Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase at 3.45. Presenting Junior won the 2015 renewal and Martin Hunter’s charge returns to try and grab the spoils again.

Definitly Red will be looking to put his unhappy experience in the Cheltenham National Hunt Chase behind him. The Irish runner has some solid form, finishing close behind both Blaklion and Black Hercules at wetherby. Both of those horses became G1 Festival winners.

Paul Nicholls has a brace of French horses, in this race. Fago is more highly rated, although Orbasa may well be the smarter bet, given the weights. Tom George’s Double Shuffle finished 3rd behind Ballyalton and Bouvreuil, at Cheltenham. The Milan-sired gelding commands respect here.

Mullins Scrambles For Points, In Scotland!

It’s not often that Willie Mullins sends a horse to Ayr, but it looks as though he has his sights firmly trained on the leading trainer’s title and Valyssa Monterg looks capable of rewarding his decision to go marauding north of the Scottish border. She should be a factor, in the Mares Handicap Hurdle (4.45)

2nd at Punchestown, in the Listed Grabel Mares Hurdle, Valyssa Monterg appears well-treated by the handicapper despite performing poorly in a more-recent Pertemps race at Leopardstown. The main challenges are expected to come from Desert Queen, Rons Dream and Run Ructions Run.

Ranger To Land The Landsdown?

The racing at Bath doesn’t get underway until 4.50. The Listed Lansdown Fillies’ Stakes (6.20) is the feature, a 5f sprint for horses aged 3 and over.

A lot of horses are in with a chance, including Demora, Fine Blend, Iffranesia and  Rosina. Richard Hannon’s Marsh Hawk is another that cannot be ruled out. While she’s without a win since 2014, the filly hasn’t enjoyed the best of luck. First-time blinkers could well do the trick.

However, Ridge Ranger looks the one to beat and it will be a surprise if she doesn’t start the race as favourite. Her performance in the G3 Dubai International Airport World Trophy, where she was just a nose behind Roger Varian’s steps, was eyecatching. She’s also a horse that can show her best form, right at the beginning of a campaign.

Poet To Progress At Newbury?

Arab Poet makes his seasonal reappearance, in the Full of Surprises Handicap, at Newbury (2.20). Sir Michael Stoute’s colt was runner-up behind one of the smartest looking juveniles of 2015, Massaat, at Leicester in September. He went on to score impressively at Lingfield, in his final 2015 race, beating Alshaqee by over 2 lengths.

Davier Quick Enough, In France?

There’s jumps action at Enghien, in France, where the big race is the Prix Collins. Quick Davier will be hoping to rediscover last season’s form, which saw Guillaume Macaire’s horse win 3 of his 6 races. The Early March-sired gelding has had a spluttering start to 2016, but he’s likely to find market support in this encounter. Both Ayacucho and Arnaga have shown decent form and should contribute to an interesting renewal.

The feature race at La Teste is the Prix de Séléction. Thierry de Lauriere’s Fifty Du Pecos is up against Best Seller and Tidjali D’or.


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