With only four days to go before the start of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, it is not surprising that the quality of action is well below that kind of standard on a quiet Friday afternoon.
However, there are still plenty of winners to be found and in our quest for some festival funds going into the four-day extravaganza, we will provide Horse Racing tips, previews and predictions for two races from the Devon racecourse and one from the north-east track.
“Tip of the Day” – Goobinator – 4.15pm Newcastle
Champion jockey elect Brian Hughes looks set to partner yet another winner, courtesy of Donald McCain’s charge, a dual winner on the flat last year, who should prove far too good for his six rivals off a lenient mark of 124.
Earth Lord (Next Best) – 1.45pm Exeter
Only five runners for this novices’ hurdle but Blackjack Magic, Earth Lord, Flemenstide and Trelawne have recorded six wins between them over the smaller obstacles while Just A Dime won a couple of point-to-points back in January.
The Kim Bailey-trained Trelawne is very much the dark horse of the race after winning on his debut here at Exeter last month by an impressive 18 lengths. It is hard to evaluate the value of that form with the odds-on favourite Triple Trade appearing to run well below his best.
The Paul Nicholls-trained pair of Blackjack Magic and Flemenstide give the Ditcheat handler a strong hand in this 2m 7f contest but both may struggle against Earth Lord from the Philip Hobbs stable.
After winning a novice hurdle at Wincanton on his first run of the season, the mount of Tom O’Brien followed-up under a big weight in an Ascot handicap. A creditable seventh in Kempton’s Lanzarote Hurdle, the Mahler gelding was just outpointed by the 137-rated Fair Frontieres at Warwick last month, a repeat of which should be good enough for the six-year-old to record his third victory.
Madera Mist (Longshot) – 4.05pm Exeter
Top weight Longshanks should go well for the Philip Hobbs stable in this modest handicap chase. Totally outclassed when third behind Cheltenham Festival-bound L’Homme Presse and Gunsight Ridge on this course last December, Tom O’Brien’s mount should appreciate today’s drop in class.
The eight-year-old has to concede weight to all of his rivals however and may struggle to give the Tim Vaughan-trained Madera Mist 10lb. Since running out a shock 33/1 winner of a mares’ handicap chase at Cheltenham 15 months ago, the daughter of Stowaway has been running consistently well.
Runner-up at both Cheltenham and Uttoxeter last year, the mount of Alan Johns could never get competitive back at Prestbury Park on her reappearance following a couple of mistakes and off a mark of 102 a big run is expected.
Goobinator (Longshot) – 4.15pm Newcastle
The last time top weight Empire De Maulde was seen over hurdles was back in 2019 when recording victories here at Newcastle and at Doncaster. The mount of Ryan Mania is interesting after showing decent form over fences, winning four of his fourteen starts.
The eight-year-old now runs off a mark 13lb higher over the smaller obstacles however, unlike Goobinator from the Donald McCain stable who is 2lb lower than when winning at Ayr in October 2020, the gelding’s last success before connections turned his attention to a flat campaign.
The mount of leading jockey Brian Hughes won races at York and Haydock on the level before reverting back to hurdles at Bangor in November. The son of Noble Mission was going well when falling three out. Goobinator’s most recent effort, when third behind Cobblers Dream at Doncaster, received a boost when that horse went on to win Kempton’s valuable Lanzarote Hurdle.
The six-year-old should be more than capable of taking this Class 3 handicap off a mark of 124.
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