A mixed Saturday with the Grade 3 2m ‘Swinton’ Hurdle at 2.15pm keeping jumps fans happy as the Flat season starts to dominate.
Slick jumping on good ground is key to winning here and I like WAIT FOR ME trained by the master handler Philip Hobbs and ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson.
The selection was a fine fourth behind Superb Story in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham and can go well here ahead of a possible move to fences for next season.
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There are Classic Trials for the Epsom Derby and Oaks at Lingfield and the fillies’ event is at 3.25pm. All six runners have poor enough ratings and the one I like is MOUNTAIN BELL, who looked good when hacking up in a maiden at Windsor just over three weeks ago.
Ralph Beckett has a good record in this race and with his fillies in general. She should go well.
The colts’ version is at 4pm with the Derby Trail and it looks very tricky. I’m going to take a chance that WINNING STORY can up his game again with the cheek-pieces on.
He looked good in a maiden at Newmarket in mid April and there is arguably no star in this so he might just be good enough. Saeed bin Suroor’s colt does at least hold an entry in the Derby.
At Ascot, Tutu Nguru hasn’t scored for a little while but has a great chance to get back to winning ways here for the William Haggas yard.
Andrea Atzeni has been booked and he rode her earlier in the season when second at Kempton. Has had a break after three quick runs so could go well today.
Finally, at Ascot it’s the big betting race, the Victoria Cup at 4.15pm where Paddy is paying the first five home. I’m backing EMELL each-way for Richard Hannon.
He didn’t run great at Leicester last time out but wasn’t bad at Doncaster the time before that.
More importantly he was a fine fifth in this race 12 months ago off a mark of 105. He’s rated 102 now and with 5lb claimer Gary Mahon easing the burden even more it could spark a return to life at a nice price!
So best of luck. A busy and mixed Saturday. Bring it on. Yeeehaaa!