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Charlie McCann’s Horse Racing Tips

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Charlie McCann Horse Racing Tips for Sunday, 28th May - Meditate to be the best of the rest in Curragh classic

The valuable Clarke Chase at Uttoxeter is named in honour of the late Lord Stan(ley)Clarke, who did such a wonderful job transforming his local track, having acquired the lease on the course from the local council in the late 1980s.

The race named is an ultra-competitive heat, and Gloire D’athon and Raffle Ticket have done us a few favours over the last few months. If forced to pick one, it would be Captain Tom Cat, however, but I will not be having a bet in a tremendous renewal.

4.30pm Uttoxeter - Midnight Ginger

They will be kicking off at Goodison just as the tapes rise for the two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle, and I hope to see the mare MIDNIGHT GINGER beat the boys in the near two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle.

This trip is, arguably, on the sharp side for the selection, but she is 2lbs below her last winning mark, has won on a sound surface in the past, and the yard of Andrew Martin are in good nick. She may be a tad overpriced at 13/2.

Fat Sam is another favourite of mine – oh, the irony if Leeds stay up and Everton are relegated – but he is a better chaser than hurdler.

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Charlie's Tip

4.30pm Uttoxeter

Midnight Ginger looks overpriced with conditions to suit


At 11/2 a £10 bet would return £65


May 27, 2023

4:30 pm GMT+1

2.40pm Fontwell - Jigginstown King

There are no prices at the time of writing, so please ignore if Oliver Signy’s JIGGINSTOWN KING is too short in the four-runner handicap chase, but I was impressed with his win at Fakenham last time when he made all despite some early sketchy jumping.

There is every chance that Cillian Leonard can get a soft lead on the progressive 6-year-old, and his jumping improved as the race developed last time. Note the runner-up – Abaya Du Mathan – was due to race at Ffos Las on Saturday evening.

The selection had previously run well over today’s C&D, and a 6lbs rise for his latest success looks fair. Not Another Muddle keeps falling down the weights, and Gary Moore will be keen to get another win or two into his veteran, who is twice the age of the selection, but the Irish import could be well ahead of his mark.

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Charlie's Tip

2.40pm Fontwell

Jigginstown King is the one to beat in this contest


At 5/4 a £10 bet would return £22.50


May 27, 2023

2:40 pm GMT+1

3.50pm Curragh - Mediate (betting w/o Tahiyra) (Nap of the Day)

Tahiyra was possibly an unlucky loser in the 1000 Guineas and is a very short price to go one better for Dermot Weld in the Irish equivalent. I have backed MEDITATE in the market without the odds-on favourite, however, and will be disappointed if we did not see a different filly to the one who disappointed at Newmarket.

Aidan O’Brien saddles three as he bids to win the classic for the fourth time in five years – Weld saddled the winner 12 months ago – and Meditate – who is the mount of Ryan Moore – will appreciate this sounder surface more than the ground at Newmarket when she was more than ten lengths behind Tahiyra.

The selection is unbeaten on ground without the word soft in the title, and the 5/4 with Bet365 looks fair to my eyes, given she has a decent draw in two – jolly in one – and Dower House is likely to ensure a decent gallop for the selection with only the outsider of the field Comhra having a history of going forward from the gates.

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Charlie's Nap of the Day

3.50pm Curragh

Mediate looks the best of the rest behind Tahiyra


At 5/4 a £10 bet would return £22.50


May 27, 2023

3:50 pm GMT+1

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

Charlie McCann’s Horses to Follow

Last Updated - May 17th

Baradar might well have won the Victoria Cup had Kevin Stott ridden to his draw instead of turning left coming out of the stalls on Saturday. His sixth-place finish does him no justice, but with the ground drying out all the time, he cannot be considered, at least not in the short term, unless we continue to get a wet spring. He remains ahead of the handicapper, but Ascot really was the one that got away.

Nathanael Greene 4-y-old gelding with William Haggas

The cheekpieces Nathanael Greene wore in his last three starts were absent at Ascot at the weekend when he was beaten less than two lengths over a mile-and-a-half ridden by stable apprentice Adam Faragher. Trapped out in lane three throughout the eight-runner field, the horse came widest of all into the straight yet threatened to challenge going to two out before he stayed on at just the one pace. I think he will leave this form well behind next time.

Indeed, I will be surprised and disappointed if he cannot snare a valuable prize over 12-14f this summer. Proud Yorkshireman Haggas has yet to saddle the winner of the Ebor Handicap, and that race is likely to come under scrutiny, although it would be no surprise if the stable were mobhanded in that York handicap. See Gaasee/La Yakel/et al.

Note the bottom weight in last year’s Ebor was rated 100, so Nathanael Greene, currently rated 90, will have to win at least once this summer if he is to face the starter in that most valuable of handicaps.

Fringill Dike 6-y-old gelding with Jedd O’Keefe

Fringill Dike is unbeaten in five starts at Hexham and must show that he can be as effective away from his beloved Northumbria track, but he improved for the switch to fences and application of headgear when scoring over the minimum trip at the weekend.

He was very well backed on Saturday and made most despite not having an uncontested lead, given he was pestered on the front by Going Mobile. His task was made easier by the departure two out of Sao, but the winning time was the fastest of the day, and I think he could defy a rise. His chase debut success came off 109, but I would expect him to be rated 120+ by the end of the summer. He goes on good to soft ground but no worse. One to keep on side in the short term.

Modaara 4-y-old filly with 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.

Emily Dickinson, 4-year-old trained Aidan O’Brien

Third in last year’s St Leger, Emily Dickinson improved for the step up to two miles for the first time when landing Group 2 at the Curragh back in the autumn, and she continued her progress when scoring at Navan last weekend back down to 1m 6f. Both those wins were gained with plenty of cut in the ground, and she obviously handles such conditions very well.

She will give Trueshan and co plenty to consider in the top staying events this term, with stablemate Kyprios considered a major doubt to defend his Gold Cup crown at Royal Ascot. She was given some moderate rides by Ryan Moore in her three-year-old career, and Seamie Heffernan was in the plate at the Curragh, but the Ballydoyle number one got a good tune out of the filly on her comeback.

She is a best price of 4/1 with Corals & Betfred for the Gold Cup on the final day of Royal Ascot in June.

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.

Hidor De Bersy, 6-year-old trained by Tom Symonds

Last week saw the welcome return to form of the Joe Tizzard stable and that of Tom Symonds, whose string has largely been in the doldrums this term.

At the time of writing, the last six runners from the Symonds yard have finished 7-2-1-6-1-3, and it is the one who finished last of seven Hidor De Bersy who may be of interest in the short term.

Ridden by David Noonan, the flashy chestnut was too keen over two-and-a-half-miles at Ffos Las on his latest start and looks sure to be dropped a few pounds for what was, on the face of it, a modest run.

A Bumper winner on decent ground, his sole win over hurdles came over the minimum trip at Fakenham, and his best run to date over fences came at Wetherby on chase debut over two miles when finishing runner up, having again tanked his way through the race.

I am convinced there are races to be won over fences with the six-year-old this spring, and the handicapper will likely reassess him to a mark of circa 112.

That looks well within his compass, with a return to a tight track like Fakenham likely to prove ideal. His best runs have been on a left-hand track.

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 take 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 cricketer - but cricket was my first love. Horse racing has long been my passion - ironic really as I’ll never pass the vet again as my sport 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