Horse Racing Tips: Paul Jacobs’ best value plays on a Super Saturday

Paul Jacobs fancies Knappers Hill to keep up his good course form at Wincanton (3pm)

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

2:11: Aintree – GESSKILLE

Despite a dry forecast for Friday, the Liverpool track is expecting some heavy showers on Saturday and that should ensure we get fairly testing ground on the National course for this renewal of the Grand Sefton Chase. The earlier rain this week has ruled out likely big player Lostintranslation, but is a huge plus for this recent French import now trained by Henry Brooke.

Two from nine over fences in France he has taken little time to acclimatise to these shores, going two from two in hunter chases in the spring before winning a Listed chase back in his homeland at Auteuil on typically testing going. His prominent style of racing should also be well suited to this race and more rain wouldn’t be a problem.

Of his 14 rivals, One True King remains open to more improvement and this could well prove to be his optimum trip on this ground, while light weight, Cooper’s Cross, looks interesting after bolting up at Carlisle last time out, although he wouldn’t want too much rain on the day of the race.

The classy Al Dancer is also in the equation if his sometimes less than fluent jumping holds up, but if he takes to these fences he looks nicely treated on his very best chasing form from a rating of 144.


2.39: Doncaster – YOUNG FIRE

I am actually a wee bit disappointed that there are only 10 set to line up in this seven furlong handicap as the selection tends to run his best races in a ‘crowd’ and I am hoping that there is enough pace in the race early on to tow him into the contest in the closing furlong or so.

Last time out I thought that this mud loving seven-year-old was desperately unlucky not to win the class three handicap over this course and distance two weeks ago. Racing keenly as he always does, but some way in rear, Danny Tudhope began to navigate his way through the pack from the three furlong pole and looking full of running went for a gap two out only to be denied a clear passage at that crucial stage.

Switched again inside the distance, the selection then finished really well to finish fourth of the 15 runners, beaten less than three and a half lengths with plenty more left in the tank and I think would have gone close to landing the gold medal had he not been stopped in his tracks.

The seven-year-old gets the vote over interesting outsider Baradar and well-treated, soft-ground entry Popmaster.


3.00: Wincanton – KNAPPERS HILL

Even after 54mm of rain this week, 22 of those on Wednesday night, the ground at Wincanton is still expected to be good at the slowest and could be good to firm in places on Saturday with a dry Friday forecast. That will certainly be in the favour of the remarkably consistent and versatile Sceau Royal, winner of this race for the past two seasons and still in fine fettle and retaining the majority of his considerable ability as a 10-year-old judged on his clear cut success in a Listed event at Kempton Park some three weeks ago.

However, he may well have met his maker in the form of the Paul Nicholls’ youngster who won his novice hurdle here some 12 months ago and has since made gradual progression culminating in an impressive success in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow.

His one poor run over timber came on soft ground at Sandown in the big EBF Final but back on a sound surface his has a high cruising speed is a potent weapon. Allied to his more than useful turn of foot I think he can bridge the gap in the ratings with the old boy and put himself firmly in the Champion Hurdle picture.



7.55: Keeneland – CLAIRIERE

The Breeders Cup Distaff was always the highlight of day one of the Breeders Cup, but now it has quite rightly been moved to the main card. This year’s field has a bit more strength in depth than normal with Kentucky Oaks second, Nest, a red hot favourite having emphatically reversed that Churchill Downs for with Secret Oath in both the American Oaks and Alabama Stakes.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has always been of the opinion that she would improve as she matures and strengthens up in her second season and he has been spot on. Her running style is to take her races by the scruff of the neck a quarter of a mile from home and gallop her rivals into submission.

At around 6/4, she looks short enough in the betting and better value could be with one of the two Steve Asmussen fillies. It could be that his Society is his number one, four from five this season, but the Grade One she won at Parx doesn’t inspire and her stable mate is the call.

The daughter of the great Curlin is double the price of the second favourite, Malathaat, on account of finishing last of 5 to her last time out in the Ensign Stakes, but she played up badly in the stalls that day and missed the kick and Joel Rosario didn’t persevere with her. She had twice previously beaten that filly and after impressing in her work outs this week could be the each-way call in a hot renewal.

Saturday’s Value Plays

2:11: Aintree – GESSKILLE
2.39: Doncaster – YOUNG FIRE
3.00: Wincanton – KNAPPERS HILL
7.55: Keeneland – Distaff – CLAIRIERE

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.


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