Steve Hughes has two tips on an excellent Friday’s racing
There is good quality racing under both codes on Friday and the best bets look to be quite early in the day. I have a selection on the flat at York and one over jumps at Newton Abbot.
York 2.20: Mafaaheem
Although his win record to date is a relatively modest 1-8 I am expecting Mafaaheem to grow into a reliable handicapper this campaign and with the 4yo kept in training for his illustrious owner, connections clearly think there is better to come from him in 2018.
He has been consistent and although his one win came in a heavy ground Nottingham maiden – by a very comfortable 11l, he has plenty of good races on fast ground that he will encounter today. He also looks best off at this 10f trip and as a scopey sort, galloping tracks like York are likely to prove his forte.
His first run in handicap company was a decent one at the backend of last season when second in a class 2 in Yarmouth. Less good was his comeback run this season at the Craven meeting at Newmarket. However the horses from Owen Burrows yard were largely in need of their first runs at the time and the majority have come on considerably since then. I am hoping the same will apply to this gelding.
Newton Abbot 2.45: Viconte de Noyer
At first glance Viconte de Noyer looks to have quite a patchy record since joining Colin Tizzard and is without a win since winning on stable debut for the team at Cheltenham in November 2016. However if you filter out those runs based on ground a different picture emerges.
His record on good-to-soft going or quicker reads 10272 as opposed to PP0PP6 on softer. His performances in Ireland prior to that also suggests he is best on top of the ground. He certainly bounced back to form on a sound surface at Uttoxeter, giving our selection Drumcliff most to think about in the closing stages.
Upped only 2lbs for that run, he remains 7lbs lower than when scoring at Cheltenham and whilst that win there was gained at 3m3f, most of his best form is at around this 2m5f mark. With the going in his favour and his current ability proven he looks a worthy favourite.
0.75pts each-way – Mafaaheem – 2.20 York – 6/1 Skybet
1pt win – Viconte de Noyer – 2.45 Newton Abbot – 11/4 general