Steve Hughes has picks from a race each at Listowel and Doncaster on Thursday
Listowel stages a big handicap hurdle on their Thursday card and I fancy a youngster just out of the novice ranks. There are too many 2yo races for my liking at Doncaster but there is a big field handicap for the lady riders later on the card and I have two each-way suggestions for that. We managed to nail the Kerry National yesterday with Poker Party winning (14/1) in a photo from our other selection Ravenhill (advised 10/1)
Doncaster 4.20: Saluti & Nick Vedder
Two horses best know for their exploits over 6f are fancied and hopefully if there is a fast and furious pace, their proven stamina will kick in late on.
Saluti has hit form recently and has been placed on his last two outings. Most recently he was third at Thirsk over their sharp 7f, though he looked the likeliest winner a furlong out. Did he fully go through with his effort, or did he simply not quite see out the trip? Prior to that he had been a fast finishing second over Pontefract’s stiff 6f. Whilst most of his form has been at 7f, he has two second places to his name now over 6f for new handler Paul Midgley and Saluti represents the winning trainer/jockey combination from this race in 2017 with Georgia Cox on board.
I think a small each-way bet on Nick Vedder is worth chancing. I followed him to good reward last season when he was in fine form, notably when winning over 7f here last August. He is a difficult horse to catch right as he stops in front and perhaps should have won the Lady riders race on King George day at Ascot, only to hit the front too soon. My reasoning is that a stiff 6f around here should naturally bring him into contention late on. His form has not been as good in 2019, but he races for a new yard today in Robyn Brisland and he is back to that last winning turf mark of 71 for the first time since.
Listowel 4.50 Chosen Mate
Everything went wrong that could go wrong for Chosen Mate in Galway last time. That run can safely be discarded and instead I am happy to focus on a good run of form in graded novice company last season.
Having taken a handy early position in the Galway Hurdle, Chosen Mate ran into the back of another horse jumping the fourth and was lucky not to come down. If that was not bad enough he then got unbalanced on the next band and brought to a near standstill as he was barged to the back of the field. His form in early 2019 though looks plenty good enough to bring him into contention today.
A wide margin winner of a Fairyhouse maiden, he was then narrowly beaten in a Punchestown listed contest before winning a Grade 2 in Naas. He probably did not stay 2m4f when sent to Aintree for a Grade 1 at the National meeting. However he put in a good run on the flat at Leopardstown prior to Galway and he does seem to travel well in his races which means he ought to be suited by competitive handicaps such as this.
0.75pts each-way – Saluti – 4.20 Doncaster – 9/1 general
0.5pts each-way – Nick Vedder – 4.20 Doncaster – 28/1 Paddy Power, BetVictor
1pt each-way – Chosen Mate – 4.50 Listowel – 8/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 4)