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Charlie McCann’s Horse Racing Tips

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Charlie McCann Horse Racing Tips for Sunday, 24th September

Alien Storm to improve good course record at Plumpton

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4.10pm Curragh - Chally Chute (Each Way)

I wrote last week that Tower Of London was my antepost fancy for the Melbourne Cup and I am surprised that Aidan O’Brien brings his three-year-old out just eight days after he ran a cracker when fourth in the St Leger at Doncaster.

O’Brien saddled the winner of the corresponding race 12 months ago with a 3-y-old but there is a band of heavy rain due for the area during the afternoon. He had a hard race last weekend and I’m not convinced the forecast is a plus. Ballydoyle may believe he needs a penalty to get into the Melbourne Cup although I thought his allotted weight of 50.5kgs would be enough to sneak into the race.

He is reluctantly opposed and the each way vote goes to CHALLY CHUTE (e.w.) who has been progressing nicely for Michael Halford and Tracy Collins this term. The step back up in trip to two miles will suit, he has a decent draw in stall eight and any further significant rain would not be an inconvenience.

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Charlie's Tip

4.10pm Curragh

Chally Chute gets Charlie's each way vote


At 16/1 a £10 win bet would return £170


September 24, 2023

4:10 pm GMT+1

3.45pm Plumpton - Alien Storm (Nap)

ALIEN STORM looks fairly treated for Charlie Longsdon and I always think this is a time of the year when the trainer’s runners are always worth a second glance. He won a novice hurdle here back in October and, in a light campaign, he only raced twice more on decent ground finishing runner up on both occasions to unexposed types of Nicky Henderson.

Pillar Of Steel heads the market having his first start for James Evans. He has left Henry Oliver since finishing third at Stratford earlier in the month and Jamie Moore keeps the ride. His previous win, also at Stratford, gives him every chance but a bigger danger may come from Get Back Get Back who finished runner up in the Sussex Champion Hurdle back in the spring.

Harry Fry’s 8-y-old is 1lb lower in the weights this afternoon and it should be note that he, like Alien Storm, has a course record of 1-2. I will save on the Fry horse, but Alien Storm is narrowly preferred.

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Charlie McCann's Nap Of The Day

3.45pm Plumpton

Alien Storm to improve good course record at Plumpton


At 7/2 a £10 bet would return £45


September 24, 2023

3:45 pm GMT+1


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

Charlie McCann’s Horses to Follow

Last Updated - 19th September

As expected, one of our Horses To Follow Modaara failed to stay a mile-and-a-half on soft ground at Chester last weekend. She is kept in the list as connections must soon wake up to the fact that her optimum conditions are good ground and a mile-and-a-quarter.

A return to the all-weather beckons if we have a wet autumn. She is given one more chance to fulfil her earlier promise.

Lion’s Dream 4-y-old gelding with Mick Appleby

Lion’s Dream won at Chelmsford on debut for Richard Hughes in the colours of Jaber Abdullah and is bred to be smart.

He was picked up by the Horse Watchers for 60,000 gns last October when rated 80. In the intervening 11 months he has been gelded, had wind surgery, and dropped to a mark of 70 before finishing third in the Leger Legends race over 7f at Doncaster on Sunday.

The winner I Still Have Faith made a mockery of a mark of 70 when running away with the race under Tom Scudamore, but we now know that connections had been planning a coup in the race since the spring when Scudamore announced his retirement. The handicapper looks sure to take a dim view of his success, but he is surely an 80+ rated horse.

For much of the race, however, Lion’s Dream travelled as well as the winner although he was keen in his first- time hood and cheekpieces combo. It is possible that the aids won’t work the oracle a second time, but he showed plenty of speed under Robbie Power and I would expect him to score in his next couple of starts especially if back on a synthetic surface.

The handicapper may raise him a pound or two for Doncaster, but I don’t think he will be a 12/1 shot next time he runs.

Cantora 3-y-old filly with George Boughey

Cantora had a lucrative autumn as a juvenile last season, and I expect her to win again this year having made an eye-catching return at Chester last weekend when the betting suggested she would need the run on her first start in four months.

With two furlongs to go you only wanted to be on one horse, but she was kept to the far rail when the action was in the centre of the track and finished fourth beaten over four lengths.

I expect that kindness to be repaid granted soft ground with another visit to Chester more than a possibility. She raced from a mark of 80 last time and that is unlikely to be her ceiling although the hope is she will be eased back down a pound or two for that effort.

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 Corals 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.

Cavern Club, 3-year-old trained by Marco Botti

Later in the same card at Leicester, Fairbanks turned the 12f handicap into a procession, and he will be of interest if getting into the 12f handicap for the classic generation at Royal Ascot later in the month.

He will have gone into many notebooks and trackers, however, and back down the field, I thought Cavern Club ran better than his finishing position would suggest, and I will be interested in his next start, especially if there is a bit more cut in the ground or back on the all-weather.

Slowly away, the gelding, another son of Ribchester, looked to be climbing on the fast ground before making late headway into a well-beaten fourth. I’m not convinced he was in love with his first-time blinkers at Oadby, and I would expect the headgear to be dispensed with next time and replaced with the cheekpieces which he wore when successful at Kempton back in December. Indeed it would be no surprise if connections dispensed with any headgear going forward.

He is likely to be dropped a couple of pounds, and he shapes as if he will stay even further, especially back on a synthetic surface.

Nathanael Greene, 4-year-old trained by 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-year-old trained by 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-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.

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.

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 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