While a couple of meetings have been lost due to waterlogging over the last few days, the ground at Thursday’s jump cards at Newcastle and Taunton currently reads good, good to firm in places. The third national hunt fixture of the day at Market Rasen is a more appropriate good to soft for this time of the year.
Today’s horse racing tips feature a couple of selections for both Market Rasen and the north-east racecourse at Gosforth Park in Newcastle.
“Tip of the Day” - Matchmaking (3.25pm Newcastle) - 4/1 with bet365
In receipt of weight from all of his rivals and with the services of champion jockey Brian Hughes in the saddle, Laura Morgan’s charge can open his account over fences at the second time of asking with conditions to suit.
2.05pm Market Rasen, 2m 4 1/2f - Seinesational (Each Way)
A tight handicap hurdle with only 5lb covering nine of the eleven runners. Betty Baloo ended her novice campaign by finishing third in a valuable mares’ handicap at Kelso and could be well treated on a mark of 107 if fit enough on her reappearance. While Allbetsoff, top weight Hidden Depths and the consistent Belvedere Blast all have claims. However, despite the stable not yet hitting form, the Dr Richard Newland-trained SEINESATIONAL makes plenty of appeal on the gelding’s second start since being off the course for over a year.
The seven-year-old, an eight-time winner on the Flat, joined the good doctor in March of last year, finishing runner-up on four occasions over hurdles along with a fair effort in a staying handicap at Glorious Goodwood. The mount of Sam Twiston-Davies has obviously had its issues but with that recent run under his belt we can expect to see a much improved performance in a race that shouldn’t take too much winning.
3.15pm Market Rasen, 3m - Little River Bay (Next Best)
The result of this mares’ Listed chase could boil down to which of the five principle runners (Raddle And Hum looks outclassed) are capable of producing their best form at this early stage of the season. Zambella, Precious Eleanor, Fantastic Lady and Legends Ryde all have decent form at this level against their own sex. But the Philip Hobbs-trained LITTLE RIVER BAY has a good record fresh and the daughter of Shirocco can win for the fourth time over the bigger obstacles.
The mount of Tom O’Brien won her first two starts over fences around this time last year before failing to enjoy much luck when unseating her rider in a similar race at Warwick and then stumbling badly when still in with a chance on Wincanton’s Boxing Day fixture.
The mare got back to winning ways at Ludlow earlier this year prior to ending the season when failing to concede 11lb to fellow rival Precious Eleanor at Cheltenham’s April meeting. Little River Bay was never travelling at Prestbury Park after losing a shoe and should turn the tables on Henry Daly’s charge on 13lb better terms.
A bigger danger to the selection may come in the shape of Fantastic Lady with the Henderson stable starting to hit form, although the mare finished last of six on her first run of the season last year.
3.25pm Newcastle, 2m 7 1/2f - Matchmaking (Nap)
Return Fire from the Lucinda Russell stable and MATCHMAKING, who joined trainer Laura Morgan from Caroline Bailey last month, are both new to the chasing game but could well dominate this extended 2m 7f handicap featuring mainly exposed contenders.
The former improved from his first start over fences, when third of four at Perth in September, to run out a comfortable winner of a conditional jockeys’ handicap at Hexham last week, for which the Leading Light gelding was put up 8lb by the handicapper.
10lb Claimer Patrick Wadge is one again in the saddle and the six-year-old will be fancied by many to follow up. However, rated some 15lb below Return Fire is the Laura Morgan-trained Matchmaking who has an excellent win record of 6 from 18 (four on the Flat and two over hurdles) before going down narrowly on his chasing debut at Kelso last month.
The mount of champion jockey Brian Hughes looked like winning at the Borders track until just losing out to the more experienced Get With It in the closing stages. With that experience under his belt and in receipt of plenty of weight from his rivals, the Mastercraftsman gelding looks sure to go well. Has won on ground ranging from good, good to firm and firm.
3.55pm Newcastle, 2m 4 1/2f - Headscarf Lil (Each Way)
Rose Dobbin’s Rae Des Champs is the most interesting runner in this Class 4 handicap hurdle after the five-year-old’s second behind the Nicky Henderson-trained Theatre Glory in a valuable mares’ handicap at Kelso back in March. Craig Nichol’s mount is unlikely to be at her peak for her first start in over seven months however and is passed over in favour of HEADSCARF LIL (e.w.) from the in-form stable of Nicky Richards.
The daughter of Getaway has won three of her 13 starts over hurdles, all on ground the eight-year-old is likely to encounter at the north-east track. The most recent of those victories came over today’s course and distance last December when running out an easy winner off a mark only 3lb lower than will be the case here.
Sean Quinlan’s mount is sure to improve for her effort at Carlisle last month on going far too soft for a horse who much prefers top of the ground conditions.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.
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