ITV are serving up a real treat for armchair punters on Saturday, with high-class horse racing action over the jumps at Cheltenham and on the flat at Newbury and Doncaster.
We’ve put together free tips for six of those races, the ‘Matchbook Betting Exchange’ Handicap Chase, Teddington Royal British Legion Stakes, Masterson Holdings Hurdle, Molson Coors Stake, Randox Health Handicap Chases, and the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes.
Sam Twiston-Davies has an outstanding record on Cogry, winning on five of the occasions he has ridden him over hurdles and fences. The last of those successes came in this race last year off a 2lb lower mark, but he actually gets to carry 1lb less this year than he did last year. Cogry went up 6lb for that success but, having come back down 4lb after six runs without Twiston-Davis in the saddle, he should go well reunited with his favourite jockey today, who seems to get him to jump better than any other jockey.
‘Matchbook Betting Exchange’ Handicap Chase Free Tip: Cogry @ 11.00 Widely Available
It’s really easy to build a case for Young Rascal here and I see no reason why William Haggas’ three-year-old won’t make it four wins in five races this season. His only defeat this season came in The Derby, where he didn’t seem to handle the track, but he has thrived on flat tracks at Chester and here at Newbury. His Group 3 win her last month, in which he beat a rival rated 116, also suggests he’s worth his top-rating in the race. That form was also boosted when the third horse home Desert Encounter won a Grade 1 in Canada next time out. Add in the fact he’s 2 from 2 at Newbury, is proven with cut in the ground, and his stable is in form, and he probably rates the banker of the weekend.
Teddington Royal British Legion Stakes Free Tip: Young Rascal @ 2.75 Widely Available
Gumball looked very useful at times last season, and the stable of Phillip Hobbs wasn’t in the best of form on the few occasions this four-year-old ran poorly. He also looks a typical National Hunt horse that should improve with age as he fills his impressive frame. He faces a tough rival in Redicean but, as he’s rated just 1lb below that rival, he looks to have a great chance of beating him as he gets 8lb from him here. The others look to have plenty to find on the book.
Masterson Holdings Hurdle Free Tip: Gumball @ 3.50 Bet365
This Group 3 race was formerly known as the Horris Hill Stakes, a race in which the stable of Richard Hannon had a great record with four wins in the last nine years. This year’s representative Dirty Rascal could easily make it five wins in 10 years, as he looked to relish the step-up in trip when well-backed when winning over course and distance last time. The opposition is tougher here, but he looks worthy of each-way support.
Molson Coors Stakes Free Tip: Dirty Rascal (each-way) @ 10.00 Widely Available
The Handicapper looks to have been kind to Modus, who was rated as high as 156 over hurdles but is now given a chance off 146 over fences, which is just 1lb above his last winning mark over hurdles. Admittedly, he was a big flop at last year’s Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals, but hated the soft ground there. If the going remains good, it should be right up his street, and he always seems to run well at this time of year. Two of the last three winners of this race have also won off marks of 146 and 147, which suggests that classier types often prevail.
Randox Health Handicap Chase Free Tip: Modus @ 7.50 Ladbrokes, Coral, Betvictor
It will be interesting to watch the market for the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes, the new name for a race that was formerly the Racing Post Trophy. There are several two-year-olds in the line-up, any of which could prove much better than their current ratings. Last year’s winning trainer Aidan O’Brien saddles the likely favourite Magna Grecia, but he arrives here after finishing second in a Group 3, unlike last year’s winner Saxon Warrior who had subsequently been an impressive winner of a Group 2. Therefore, at a much bigger price, I’m inclined to bet each-way on Raakib Alhawa. The beautifully bred son of Kingman out of a Sea The Stars damn looked a horse with some potential at Newbury first time up in the hands of today’s jockey Andrea Atzeni, who has ridden four of the past five winners of this race.
Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes Free Tip: Raakib Alhawa (each-way) @ 17.00 Betfair, PaddyPower
Odds Correct at Time of Publication