The weather has done its best to destroy turf racing this week, but ITV should show four races from Sandown on Saturday as well as two from Lingfield.
And there’s a bonus three races from Leopardstown this weekend as part of the Dublin Racing Festival as well.
Let’s get straight into the ITV action, and the 1.50 at Sandown is a Listed hurdle over 2m. This is a non event, as it was last year, with dual Champion Hurdle hero BUVEUR D’AIR going to won in the bridle. I expect mud lover Rayvin Black to chase him home.
Next at Sandown is the 2.25pm, the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase over 2m 4f. This is the toughest test to date for VINNDICATION, but everything is in place for a huge run for Kim Bailey. He jumps and stays and most importantly keeps winning.
The 3.00pm at the track is a handicap hurdle with Grade 3 status over nearly 3m. No doubt this is the most open betting race of the day, and I’ll have a few quid on THE HOLLOW GINGE, at double digits who is a proven stayer who goes in the mud. He’s up 9lb in the handicap, but has every chance of making the frame.
And finally at Sandown, a handicap chase over 3m at 3.35pm. Again massively competitive, and I have a feeling AMI DESBOIS could run well for Graeme McPherson the old QC. This horse was a decent hurdler who acts in these conditions. He stays and didn’t run at all badly last time.
Meanwhile, at Lingfield ITV will show the Listed Cleves Stakes over 6f at 1.45pm. I’m all over the speedy KACHY here, who can blast out of stall eight and make all the running. Kachy is having his second run since a wind operation, and on his day he’s top class. This is his for the taking.
And finally, ITV are due to broadcast the Listed Winter Derby Trial over 1m 2f at 2.55pm. Wissahickon will take all the beating and is clear on ratings.
However, the each-way bet is COURT HOUSE, who might well be better than a 105 animal and can get an easy lead. He stays strong and returned in fabulous form on his comeback. He might surprise a few.
Over at Leopardstown, ITV now show the 2.00pm, the Ladbrokes Hurdle over 2m. All eyes on improver Wonder Laish, who carved through the field at Fairyhouse last time, but I’ll have a few quid eachway on TUDOR CITY, who has run well in both runs this term. He’s on a good mark for the very shrewd Tony Martin.
ITV will also show the Grade 1 Dublin Chase over 2m 1f at 3.10pm. I fully expect Ryanair favourite MIN to hack all over this lot. He may not be Altior, but he’s a very useful horse and should be too good here.
And finally at Leopardstown, ITV beam the 3.45pm, the Grade 1 Arkle over 2m1f. LE RICHEBOURG has been backed for the main event at Cheltenham over the last couple of weeks and Joseph O’Brien will expect him to be too good here if he has any chance at the Cheltenham Festival.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?