Steve Hughes previews the best of the Saturday action
Terrific flat racing from Newbury and two of the best summer jump races from Market Rasen provide the best of Saturday’s packed racing programme. I have selections from both meetings.
Market Rasen 2.10: Longhouse Sale
His form may not amount to much – just three wins in small field novice hurdles, but Longhouse Sale has been very impressive in those contests and can defy top weight.
Trainer Dan Skelton has kept his career low key until now and whilst the handicapper has taken a dim view, he does look a class act – at least on the good going he has been kept to until now. He is actually unbeaten in all eight races – one point, four bumpers as well as those three hurdles.
All have come on good going or faster and those hurdle wins have been on flat, galloping tracks which suits his strong travelling style. The fact he has had those eight races should mean he will not want for experience thrown into this much higher level of contest.
Newbury 2.25: Proschema & Billy Ray
Two improving 4yo’s could prove ahead of the handicapper in this second renewal of this 2m handicap. The heavy rain on Friday will improve both horses chances.
Proschema is definitely the main fancy having proved his stamina for 2m in the Northumberland Plate last time. Apprentice ridden that day, the gelding was given far too much to do, yet flew home for third late on. Richard Kingscote takes over today and the long home straight will suit the selections style of racing better. He was good enough to contest the Leger last year and both career wins to date have come on soft going.
Billy Ray looks worth an each-way saver. The softer the going the better for Mick Channon’s charge who broke his maiden when winning on heavy at Salisbury last season. He also won on soft at the back end of the year at Redcar. He was made too much use of when in need of the run on his reappearance at Ascot, but performed respectably to be fifth on fast ground at Newmarket last month. He has since been withdrawn from two races due to firm going, including a listed race, and on his favoured going he could prove to be far better than an 89 rated handicapper.
Newbury 3.00: Snazzy Jazzy
An interesting mix of experienced and up and coming sprinters and this can go to the mud loving Snazzy Jazzy.
The 4yo has an eyecatching record when the ground is softer than good. The highlights have been an Ayr Silver Cup win, a Group 3 success at Maisons-Laffitte, a lucrative sales race win at the Curragh and latterly a listed win at Salisbury.
He did well to win the last day having been stuck behind horses and the overnight rain has greatly enhanced his claims. He is very much on the up whereas horses like The Tin Man and Donjuan Triumphant have been around a while now and don’t always look the most reliable these days.
Market Rasen 3.20: Gortroe Joe
I am hoping it will be another bonanza day for the Skelton family as Gortroe Joe also holds strong claims in the Summer Plate.
The 7yo has been freshened up since a convincing 12l win here three months ago. That was in much less exalted company but this enthusiastic gelding has already shown much better form over fences in the past year and should enjoy the likely strong end to end gallop this competitive race will provide.
His tendency to jump right means he will always be better going around a track like Market Rasen. I thought he was going to be a decent hurdler after a fine third at Cheltenham early in his career but because he was so keen he tended to expend too much energy early in his races. However he is a fine jumper of fences and also seems to show a preference for good going, so this looks an ideal target.
1pt win – Longhouse Sale – 2.10 Market Rasen – 11/2 Betfred, Totesport
1pt win – Proschema – 2.25 Newbury – 5/1 general
0.5pts each-way – Billy Ray – 2.25 Newbury – 18/1 general
1pt each-way – Snazzy Jazzy – 3.00 Newbury – 9/2 general
0.75pts each-way – Gortroe Joe – 3.20 Market Rasen – 11/2 general (1/5 odds 1st 4)