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ITV Racing Preview At Ayr And Newbury

The racing just keeps getting better and better, with this weekend seeing the Scottish Grand National at Ayr and the Greenham Stakes at Newbury on the Flat. Even though Willie Mullins has six runners in Ayr’s feature race, I don’t think he’ll be landing the spoils, and I like two at double-figure prices.

1.30 Newbury – Chesspiece (Each Way)

This race looks to have more of an open feel to it than the betting suggests, and therefore I am surprised to see Chesspiece being such a big price. His form was pretty solid last season, and it included a decent third in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot. It’s interesting to see that his connections at Godolphin have decided to geld him, which could spark some improvement. Furthermore, the son of Nathaniel seems to be versatile on most types of ground, and it wouldn’t be a problem for him if the going improved at Newbury on Saturday. Overall, I don’t think he has much to find on the ratings, and I can definitely see him being in the mix.

2.05 Newbury – Folgaria (Win)

I think this is the hardest race of the weekend to workout, as many of them have questions to answer. Therefore, I’m just going to side with Folgaria, who makes her stable debut for Marco Botti. This daughter of Due Diligence is yet to taste defeat and has won all her starts, including a Group 3. It’s always hard to translate the form, but it’s interesting to see her connections sending her to the UK, which makes you think she could win some races over here. In Italy, she won on all kinds of grounds, so if there is any ease in conditions, that shouldn’t be an issue. For me, she’s the most fascinating runner in the line-up.

2.40 Newbury – Mister Sketch (Each Way)

The favourite Zoum Zoum is probably the one the field has to beat, but he looks a little too short for me, and there are a few in here that make some appeal each way. The one I am coming down on is Mister Sketch for Eve Johnson Houghton. He ran some good races last season, which included a second in the Mill Reef Stakes at this venue. The form might have been let down a couple of times, but connections have always said they think he’ll do better as a three-year-old, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he saw a big run here.

3.15 Newbury – Dancing Magic (Each Way)

Cases can be made for plenty, but Dancing Magic could be a horse to keep on side in handicaps this season. He was campaigned in Group races last season and probably just found things a little too hot at times. Subsequently, he now finds himself down to a mark of 96, which looks very workable. The four-year-old gelding seems to go on most types of ground and has stamina for further, so a strongly run mile would probably be up his street. With Jim Crowley booked for the ride, I can see him going well.

1.15 Ayr – Tommy’s Oscar (Win)

I think Tommy’s Oscar has a real chance in this race. He comes here off the back of a fresher prep, and he’s back down to his last winning mark. Furthermore, he might get this race run to suit him as there looks to be a lot of pace on with Sans Bruit and Uncle Phil, which will bring him into the race, and the ground should be in his favour. Also, Ann Hamilton’s yard is showing glimmers of a return to form after a quiet year, so that looks to be another positive for the nine-year-old gelding.

1.50 Ayr – Mofasa (Each Way)

Again, this isn’t an easy race to solve, but Mofasa, I think, is better than what he showed on his latest start at Newbury. That was his first run after wind surgery, and horses tend to perform better next time out after a wind operation. Earlier this season, he finished second behind Broadway Boy at Worcester before winning at Huntingdon. I don’t think he’s on a bad mark off 133, and I think he’ll run a much better race here.

2.25 Ayr – Afadil (Each Way) / Salsada (Each Way)

This is a cracking race, and I like a couple here. The first one is Afadil for Paul Nicholls. He might look like the second-string on jockey bookings, but he’s been running well in some big-field handicaps this season, which included a good third at Aintree last week. Some people might say he’s had some hard races, though if you look at the season he had last year, he was busy, and he won at this meeting. The ground should be fine, and Freddie Gingell, who knows him well, claims a handy 5lb.

The other one I like is Salsada for Brian Ellison. I think her season has been geared around this race, and she is now 10lb lower than when running in it last year. Her latest effort was her best run for some time when she plugged on to finish third at Haydock from her unpromising position. If she can build on that performance, then she’s a lively outsider.

3.00 Ayr – A Penny A Hundred (Win)

Willie Mullins is definitely throwing a few darts here, but I do like his A Penny A Hundred. She has run well in some decent races behind the likes of Grade 1 winner Jade Du Grugy this season, and I think a mark of 133 is workable. However, I think the step up in trip to three miles will be the key factor, as half-brother won over this trip and her pedigree has tonnes of stamina in it. Moreover, Paul Townend has decided to ride her and I think that decision speaks volumes.

3.35 Ayr – Inis Orr (Each Way) / Tommy Beau (Each Way)

This looks like a good renewal of this race, and I fancy two to run well at nice prices. My main selection in the race is Inis Orr for Lucinda Russell. He’s not been seen since he bolted up by 21 lengths in the Edinburgh National at Musselburgh back in February, where he wore a first-time visor. Connections are sticking with the headgear again, and unlike some of these, he’s been kept away from the festivals, so he should be fresher. To me, he looks like he needs a proper marathon trip, and he should be suited by this test.

The other horse who made my shortlist was Tommie Beau. He’s been a revelation for Seamus Mullins in plenty of regional nationals this season, and he was not disgraced when finishing third behind Anglers Crag in the Eider at Newcastle back in February. He’ll be on 8lb better terms this time around with Brian Ellison’s charge, and with stamina in abundance, it wouldn’t shock me if he were to make the frame.

Bet Of The Day: 1.15 Ayr – Tommy’s Oscar 

Good luck, whatever you’re backing this weekend and please remember to gamble responsibly.

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The racing just keeps getting better and better, with this weekend seeing the Scottish Grand National at Ayr and the Greenham Stakes at Newbury on the Flat. Even though Willie Mullins has six runners in Ayr’s feature race, I don’t think he’ll be landing the spoils, and I like two at double-figure prices.
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