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Charlie McCann’s Horse Racing Tips

Somespring Special can follow up at Cheltenham on Thursday

We’ve got daily tips from our resident horse racing expert, Charlie McCann.

Latest Profit & Loss Figures

It was an outstanding Grand National meeting, including 20/1, 11/1, 9/1 and 7/1 winners and I do hope at least some heeded my advice and backed I Am Maximus in-running as they went out on the second circuit.

In my preview of the race, I suggested doing so if he got that far as he was “the one horse who could turn this into a procession.” As that was not a recommendation but a suggestion, it is not included in the weekly figures below. For information, he was 5/1 with a circuit to go.

All figures to a £1 level stake.

  • Week Ending Sunday 14th April 2024: +£60.04
  • Month April ‘24 to date: +£59.34
  • Year 2024 to date: +£203.95
  • Year Ending 31/12/23: +£479.27
  • Period 1/8/22 to 31/12/22: +£243.31
  • Cumulative figure since we began on 1/8/22: +£926.53

Charlie McCann’s Horse Racing Tips for Thursday, April 18th

2:40pm Cheltenham - Notnowlinda (Each-Way)

An all-mares’ card.

The forecast changed and, at the time of writing, it was now due to rain at Cheltenham Racecourse on Wednesday afternoon, much to my annoyance, and I may edit this preview depending on how much precipitation they receive.

I was convinced there were races to be won over fences with NOTNOWLINDA (Each-Way) when she finished runner-up to Are U Wise To That at Warwick on decent ground back in September. She failed to go on from that initial run, however, although her subsequent runner-up to Arclight at Kempton – jumped left – reads very well.

Connections shelved her chasing career when successfully returning from a four-month break at Hereford back over timber last month – under today’s jockey – and the handicapper could have been harsher given he only raised the selection a pound.

That Hereford win was gained over the minimum trip, but she is effective over this 2m 4f trip, and she gets the each-way vote. She would not want too much rain.

The market is headed by Notnowlinda’s stablemate Cottie who – like the former footballer – has not yet fulfilled her initial promise but has had some useful form in her native Ireland and will appreciate this better ground.

Pretending failed to stay three miles at Ludlow on her penultimate start, and she looks a big danger, although she has been raised 4lbs for finishing runner-up at Newbury last time. She and northern raider Lavida Adiva look big dangers, but I think Notnowlinda can run a big race at a double figure price.

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Notnowlinda (Each-Way) (5 places)

2:40pm Cheltenham

4:25pm Cheltenham - Somespring Special (Nap)

Last year’s 1-2 Pink Legend and Royal Margaux are back for more in the 2m Handicap Chase, and the winner is weighted to confirm the form given she is 10lbs lower this year following a string of poor efforts.

Pink Legend has not actually beaten a horse home in her last four runs – PU x 3 and last of nine – but this better ground could bring about a change of fortune. That said, she came into the race in much better form last term and is overlooked, although a check of the market is advised.

Sacre Coeur is a confirmed front-runner who will ensure a decent test, and I hope that will suit SOMESPRING SPECIAL (Nap), who goes unpenalised for scoring at Plumpton on Sunday over 2m 3f given that was a conditional jockeys’ contest.

Trained by Anthony Honeyball I backed his Doyannie in the corresponding race twelve months ago despite being 12lbs out of the weights. For three-quarters of the race, I was on good terms with myself, but she went out like a light and has not been seen since.

If the selection is over Sunday’s exertions, I will be disappointed if she does not run a big race, having bounced off the good ground at the weekend. There are no prices at the time of writing.

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Somespring Special

4:25pm Cheltenham

1:50pm Newmarket - North View (Each-Way)

Sprint handicaps are not my forte and three-year-old sprint handicaps at this time of the year certainly are not! That said I cannot let NORTH VIEW (Each-Way) go unbacked in the Newmarket opener at 16/1 having gone into my fictious notebook when third at Ascot on debut.

Trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam blamed himself when the colt finished second on the July course suggesting the step up in distance to 7f was a mistake. Do note that the winner of that race, Watcha Matey, ran out a facile winner over the Rowley Mile here on Tuesday from a mark of 79.

North View broke his maiden tag when landing the odds at the third time of asking at Bath and I think he will leave his opening mark of 80 behind this season. His action suggests good or faster ground is imperative and Luke Morris takes over in the plate.

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North View (Each-Way) (5 places)

1:50pm Newmarket

5:20pm Newmarket - Farhh To Shy

I have backed two against the field in the concluding 7f handicap for fillies and mares.

George Margarson had a winner at Yarmouth at the weekend, and his FARHH TO SHY will appreciate the return to seven furlongs on fast ground, having got bogged down on her seasonal debut over a mile at Doncaster last month.

The mare is a course and distance winner on fast ground from a 4lbs lower mark, and Callum Shepherd takes over in the plate for the second time. The pair combined to score at Yarmouth in a Racing League contest last summer from a 3lbs lower mark, and this strong travelling mare looks overpriced at 18/1.

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Farhh To Shy (Each-Way)

5:20pm Newmarket

The fascinating runner is Andre Fabre’s SUVIANA, who could be absolutely thrown in. She has no form on a sound surface, but her half-sister Primo Bacio - rated 110 in her pomp - bounced off fast ground for Ed Walker and was a personal favourite.

The fastest ground she is reported to have encountered was when successful on good to soft at Chantilly in July when the winning time suggested it was no worse than good. Fabre brought three over for the Craven meeting, with two running in Classic trials. It is unlikely that this filly is here just to fill the horsebox.

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Suviana (Each-Way) (4 places)

5:20pm Newmarket

*Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.

Charlie McCann’s Horses to Follow

Last updated, Wednesday, March 20

Hitching Jacking 7-year-old trained by Dan Skelton

Dan Skelton had a wonderful Cheltenham week on and, perhaps even more significantly, off the track with four Festival winners and a rather lenient/unbelievable £6,000 fine published on the Monday of Cheltenham week for the George Gently case. I won’t bore you with the details of the case but a £6000 slap on the wrists conveniently brushed under the carpet on the eve of Cheltenham was some result!

There again, what do I know? I thought OJ Simpson was guilty.

Hitching Jacking has yet to prove his stamina for three miles, and his two hurdle successes came over the intermediate two-and-a-half-mile trip. He has pulled up few trees over fences to date, but I thought he shaped with considerable promise over fences when having his first start in two months, finishing third at Kempton last weekend.

He jumped out to his left at Kempton behind Slipway and Egbert and will appreciate the return to a left-hand track next time. I think there will be more to come from the gelding this spring, and there is a race at Ayr at the Scottish National meeting, which connections may consider targeting.

Jagwar, 5-year-old trained by Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero

Jagwar ran with the choke out at Uttoxeter in their competitive 2m 4f handicap hurdle last weekend and a blunder two out put paid to his chance. He was beaten 10L at the line, but he travelled like a well-handicapped horse for much of the race and the hope is that he will eventually cut out the jumping issues that have blunted his progression to this point. He was dropped 1lb to a mark of 118 by the handicapper after Uttoxeter.

Better ground should suit this spring and I wonder if he might be worth a try back at the minimum trip. The conditional jockeys’ event at Aintree might enter calculations at next month’s National meeting.

Merry Monty, 7-year-old trained by Chris Down (currently rated 80)

Merry Monty looked the type to improve for the switch to fences, and he shaped with considerable promise on his chase debut at Exeter over 2m 3f on New Year’s Day, giving every indication that he would improve again when stepped up in trip.

The gelding showed his first form when runner up - also at Exeter - on his penultimate start over timber when he jumped his hurdles as if he had been previously schooled over fences. He is likely to be nudged up the weights from his mark of eighty, but he would have won at Exeter granted another twenty yards, and I will be disappointed if he isn’t bordering on three figures by the end of the season.

Fenland Tiger, 8-year-old trained by Sam England (currently rated 107)

Fenland Tiger has won four of his nine starts over jumps, but we are just scratching the surface regarding his ability, and I will continue to follow him in the near future.

The eight-year-old won on chase debut at Carlisle and travelled like much the best horse when third back at the Cumbrian track over 3m 2f last month when he pulled hard and finished tamely to be beaten over five lengths. He will need to settle better going forward, but I am convinced he has the potential to win a good handicap chase.

I thought he looked like an Eider type on chase debut, although I appreciate he will have to settle better if he is to stay extreme distances. I would expect him to be out again at the end of the month.

Burdett Road, 3-year-old trained by James Owen

I am not a big follower of juvenile hurdles until the end of January, but I was blown away by the performance of Burdett Road at Cheltenham at the weekend and feel the 7/1 for the Triumph Hurdle at the Festival in March is fair. I am convinced the double-figure prices available in the immediate aftermath were more than fair.

I would not be surprised if we did not see a great deal of the gelding over deep winter ground, and something like the Adonis at Kempton might be an option ahead of the Cheltenham/Aintree Festivals in the spring. I would be surprised if he went to Chepstow over Christmas.

He will need to settle better than he did at Cheltenham last time, but he was in a completely different class to the rest of his field and will be a better horse on good ground. I am a huge fan of the trainer and think he would be about 5/1 if he were with a higher-profile yard.

A Royal Ascot winner back in June for Michael Bell, he is rated 101 on the level, and while the big yards have yet to flex their juvenile muscles, I would be very surprised if they had anything to go to war with a three-figure flat rating. Looking at the lists, Burdett Roads’s market rivals are French imports who have joined big yards following soft ground wins.

Pimlico Point, 6-year-old trained by Kerry Lee

The novices’ limited handicap chase (20/11/23) at Exeter, won by Wiseguy, was a most informative contest, and I will be following three in the short term from the race.

Great Name That travelled extremely well but failed to get home on his first start since the spring. He will be dropped a couple of pounds and will be a different proposition next time.

Paul Nicholls reported prerace that his Makein’yourmindup had missed some work ahead of his chase debut, and he ran as well as the trainer predicted. He is high enough in the weights off a mark of 133, but his jumping was exemplary, and he will strip fitter next time.

Pimlico Point had been off the track for over 10 months, and Kerry Lee’s six-year-old is entitled to come on for his own chase debut. He was only beaten a length at Exeter and will be nudged up a couple of pounds for the run.

He looked all stamina at Exeter and struck me as the type who would make up into a Welsh National/Eider type in the long term. In the short term, I expect the six-year-old excellent handler to find a suitable 0-120 or 0-125 handicap chase.

Are U Wise To That, 6-year-old trained by Jonjo O’Neill

It is not often you recommend following a horse beaten over 10L last time out, but I think this six-year-old ran a terrific race, under the circumstances, at Ascot in a valuable novices’ handicap chase at the beginning of November.

It would be fair to say that he is unlikely to be seen racing right-handed again this season, given he jumped left at each of his fences and violently so at times. I kept waiting for him to fall out the back of the television, but he showed his grit and ability to keep plugging away.

Those battling qualities can be rewarded back on a left-handed track at the likes of Ayr, Warwick, or Wetherby. He had been raised 7lbs for winning at Warwick on his chase debut over 2m 4f, and he gives the impression he will get three miles in time.

He is likely to be dropped one or two pounds, I hope, for Ascot, but I shall be supporting him in his next couple of starts – granted him returning to a left-handed track.

Frederick Daly

16-year-old amateur jockey, soon to turn professional, with Sir Mark Prescott

It is rare to be as impressed with a jockey, especially one who arguably won by too far, having his first ride under rules, but I was blown away by the quiet style of amateur Daly, who rode Golden Shot to win the amateur riders’ event at Ffos Las on Monday for Sir Mark Prescott. As Ian Bishop might have said: “Frederick Daly - remember the name”.

The 16-year-old was as polished in his postrace interview with Sky Sports Racing as he was in the saddle, and he suggested that he would spend little time as an amateur and would soon be turning professional.

His 7lbs claim is likely to prove very popular when that happens, although you get the impression his father, who I remember as a former assistant trainer in Newmarket, and Sir Mark Prescott will manage his progression diligently as he works through his claim.

It might be daft to draw such conclusions after just the one ride, and he never had to get serious on the 29L winner, but there was just something about his style that suggested he was no ordinary amateur jockey. I, for one, will be monitoring his progress and will take note to see if other trainers book the jockey for similar contests in the short term.

Royal Rhyme, 3-year-old trained by Karl Burke

Goodwood was largely a disappointment, with the rain putting a dampener on proceedings on and off the track. The week was summed up when the last three races were abandoned on the Saturday as the rain returned in spades.

On the track, the highlights were the continued brilliance of Paddington in the Sussex Stakes on Wednesday, but he must play second fiddle to Royal Rhyme, who showed himself to be a Group horse when running away with what is invariably a competitive 3-year-old handicap.

The handicapper has seen fit to raise him 13lbs to a mark of 108 for his six-and-a-half length romp, while his winning time was three seconds quicker than that clocked by Al Husn in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes later in the card. His record on soft ground reads played three won three, with those successes coming by an aggregate of 12 lengths.

He remains one to keep on side granted soft ground this autumn. His stablemate Triple Time, likely to reappear at Deauville on Sunday, did us a huge favour when landing the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot at 33/1. Royal Rhyme is currently the same price for the Champion Stakes with Ladbrokes and Coral at Newmarket in October. Granted soft ground, he certainly won’t be that price if he faces the starter.

Devil’s Point, 2-year-old trained by David Menuisier

Devil’s Point was backed into favourite for the valuable Goodwood maiden that was abandoned last weekend but duly bolted up at Ffos Las on Monday.

You could see the relief etched across the face of his trainer, who has endured a difficult season to date, and it is fair to say he would have been crestfallen had this son of New Bay, who cost 450,000 gns as a yearling, not landed the odds in south Wales.

The form is unlikely to be anything special, winning time certainly wasn’t, but I was impressed with the manner of victory, and his Group 2 Champagne Stakes entry at Doncaster next month does not look fanciful. I don’t believe he will need soft ground to progress, but we know he handles such conditions.

Land Legend, 3-year-old trained by James Ferguson

Many bookmakers were offering six places on the King George V handicap for the classic generation, and somehow Land Legend managed to finish seventh, having missed the break completely – gave the field five lengths and more – before meeting interference from his stablemate Wonder Legend which crucially halted his momentum two furlongs out.

The gelding had his head over the stalls just before the gates opened, and consequently, it was no surprise to see him miss the kick. In the circumstances, he ran an extraordinary race, and he would surely have gone very close had he broken on terms. He looks the type to stay further than a mile-and-a-half in time, and the handicapper can certainly not take a dim view of the run, given he was beaten over six lengths.

The gelding holds an entry in the Irish St Leger later in the season, and while that G1 entry appears fanciful, I would expect there to be plenty more races to be won with this son of Galileo on good or faster ground – note he is unproven on soft.

Wonder Legend, 3-year-old trained by James Ferguson

For much of the King George V Handicap, the eye was drawn to Wonder Legend, who travelled like a dream near the front of a suicidal early gallop. Indeed, he took up the running at the top of the home run before his effort petered out tamely, and he hung to the far rail, where he interfered with his stablemate.

In the post-race analysis, it was suggested that the horse did not let himself down on the fast ground, but I just thought he raced too prominently in a race run in ridiculous early fractions – sub-11-second furlongs - and didn’t stay the twelve-furlong trip. That was his first start at a mile-and-a-half, and he is the half-brother to a 10f winner in France. We know he enjoys soft ground, winning at Doncaster on his penultimate start.

The son of Sea The Stars is currently rated 94 and is unlikely to be moved from that mark when the ratings are published on Tuesday morning. I am convinced that he is a 100+ horse in the making but would prefer connections to drop him back in distance, at least in the short term.

If connections persevere with a mile-and-a-half, I expect him to be ridden with more restraint. There is a big race to be won with him somewhere along the line.

Modaara, 4-year-old trained by Roger Varian

Modaara is out of Roger Varian’s dual Group 1 winner Nahrain and is a sister of the wonderful Benbatl. She has won her last couple of starts on the all-weather, including a 13L romp at Kempton last week under the steadier of 10st 9lbs, and I am looking forward to her switch to turf and step up in grade.

By Dubawi, the filly holds an entry in the Hardwicke Stakes over a mile-and-a-half at the Royal meeting, but I hope to see her run over 10f back on turf first despite her recent success coming over 12f at Kempton.

Her mother’s optimum conditions were ten furlongs on fast ground while her illustrious brother ran the mighty Aussie mare Winx to 2L in the 10f Cox Plate of 2018, although he did most of his racing at eight and nine furlongs.

There was a glint in the eye of jockey Jack Mitchell when he was interviewed on Racing TV after her latest success, and he is unbeaten on the mare. Her sole turf run was nothing special – 2L fourth of ten at Yarmouth back in September – but I would be surprised if she didn’t leave that form well behind in time. An exciting prospect.

Going forward, as well as our daily racing previews, I will recommend a couple of horses that have caught my eye in the last seven days. The hope is that they may be worth putting into your own trackers.

Diamond Ri, 4-year-old trained by Joe Tizzard

Diamond Ri tanked through a Warwick Bumper on his racecourse debut to score by a long-looking thirteen lengths. The winning time was five-and-a-half seconds than the first division half an hour later.

The Tizzard yard does not have too many Bumper winners, but the yard can dare to dream over the summer that they have something to go to war with as a novice hurdler next term. His win came on soft ground, and his action and breeding suggest plenty of cut will suit going forward. Not one for the short term, but one for next season.

Harper’s Brook, 7-year-old trained by Ben Pauling

Of more short-term interest is Harper’s Brook, who is entered at the five-day stage in the 2m 4f handicap chase at Sandown on Saturday, and the hope is that there is enough juice in the ground to allow him to take his chance.

Harper’s Brook set a scorching gallop on his first start at three miles in the Ultima at Cheltenham last month when he wore cheekpieces for the first time. I would be surprised if Ben Pauling maintained the headgear at the weekend, and the return to a right-hand track will suit.

Pauling is due to run two in the race, and his Quinta Do Mar is a big threat, having won at Fontwell last time, beating a subsequent winner in Grandads Horse. Drying ground would suit, although it should be noted that Harper’s Brook has won on good ground over timber. He is 8/1 with the sponsors Bet365 for Saturday’s cracking-looking handicap.

Your Own Story, 7-year-old trained by Lucinda Russell

I backed Your Own Story at Sandown last time, and he ran a terrific race, jumping soundly and travelling well, but he was no match for the Irish raider Stumptown who looked a different class under Gavin Sheehan.

In the post-race interview, it was reported that the target for the winner is the 3m 2f Kim Muir at Cheltenham, and they needed to win to get into that amateur rider’s handicap. I am writing this before Stumptown’s revised British mark has been allocated, but he is into a best price of 5/1 with bet365 for that Festival handicap, and the cat is very much out of the bag.

Do note that he did show more than a tendency to jump right at Esher, which is a slight concern. It would not surprise me if he were an Irish National or Bet365 Gold Cup next season.

Your Own Story could be a Scottish National horse in time, as he is a sound jumper and needs a stiff stamina test. He remains a maiden over fences but is a dual winner between the flags and is one to have on your side between now and the end of the season, although he may not want extremes of going. I would be disappointed if he is still rated 117 in 12 months’ time.

Out Of Office, 5-year-old trained by Evan Williams

Out Of Office cost £160,000 after landing a point in his native Ireland in February and built on a promising British debut – 10L fourth to subsequent Tolworth winner Tahmuras – when bolting up on a return visit to south Wales on Welsh Grand National Day.

His owner described him as “an out-and-out two-miler” after his fluent win, which I’m not convinced is the case, and he has been given an opening handicap mark of 128. He will always appreciate a bit of cut in the ground, and I wonder if something like the Imperial Cup might come under consideration in March.

Note Williams saddled Howdyalikemenow – rated 126 – to finish sixth in the valuable Sandown handicap last season, and it will be interesting to see if Out Of Office gets an entry at the Esher track or whether they remain in novice company.

The form of his Chepstow win was boosted when the runner-up Equinus did us a favour at Ffos las on Monday, benefiting from a step up in distance. He would have come home alone had he jumped with more fluency – let’s hope the handicapper does not overreact and raise Out Of Office as a result!

City Chief, 6-year-old trained by Nicky Henderson

We will all have our personal highlight from the Dublin Racing Festival last weekend, and mine was The Mighty Potter in the G1 Novice Chase over 2m 5f. I think he will take all the beating in the Turners Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next month, although he is now a best price of 6/4, which makes little appeal now.

The Mighty Potter readily disposed of Gaillard Du Mesnil at Leopardstown, and the latter remains the 7/4 market leader for the NH Chase next month, having shown his stamina when runner-up at Fairyhouse in the Irish National last spring.

He is a worthy market leader, but City Chief is about 8/1 for the race with the firms offering NRNB for the Festival. He is, however, 14s with Unibet, given the reports after his Grade 2 Novice Chase win at Wetherby at the weekend suggested he may be more of a Scottish National horse and could bypass Cheltenham for Ayr.

Wherever he runs next, I think he is worth following, with stamina his forte. He could be an Aintree horse one day.

About Charlie McCann

Seven years as talkSPORT racing correspondent/tipster who recently spent over a decade as Director Of PR/Communications for a couple of leading igaming operators.

Failed cricketer - I regularly bore people, myself included, with the story about how I caught Imran Khan when 12th Man for Lancashire v Sussex as a youth - former National League Basketball player - once scored 72 points in a game - and lifelong and long-suffering Everton supporter.

Many of my old friends - and I mean old - would tell you I was a better footballer than a cricketer - but cricket was my first love. Horse racing has long been my passion - ironic as I’ll never pass the vet again as my sports injuries have come back to bite - with my specialism handicap chases over jumps and 1m+ handicaps on the level.

I have met many of the great and good in the game and consider myself to have been very fortunate. Please always bet within your means and never chase your losses.

Be Lucky.

You can follow Charlie McCann on Twitter for more racing insight.

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Charlie McCann

Charlie McCann

Charlie McCann is one of our resident horse racing experts on Freebets