BY STUART MARTIN
This Saturday’s main action takes place at Kempton and Warwick, with ITV4 covering races at both meetings.
There are quite a few Cheltenham clues on view, with the Grade 2 Ballymore Leamington Novices Hurdle 2:25 Warwick having thrown up subsequent festival winners in The New One and Willougby Court. This is a disappointing turn out with only six going to post and with only seven runners in the other Grade 2 Novice Chase, neither look decent betting mediums.
Nicky Henderson has ruffled a few feathers this week with the non-participation of Altior in the 2:05 Kempton leaving ante-post punters with a sour taste in their mouths. Once again the race doesn’t appeal for betting purposes.
The one race that does stand out for a wager is the 2:40 Lanzarote Hurdle.
The favourite Notre Pari will take a deal of beating, but at the current odds on offer of around 10/1 I really like Tight Call.
The Tim Vaughan trained gelding has had a wind operation since his encouraging return to action at market Rasen behind Honest Vic and Skandiburg.
Those two have done wonders for the form since with Honest Vic winning a £13,000 handicap at Kempton off a 6lb higher mark and Skandiburg winning at Aintree off 4lb higher and then also at Cheltenham.
The selection had a couple of excellent runs last year, falling at the last when fourth behind Brio Conti (Coral Cup 4th), Ballyandy and Malaya off of a handicap mark 3lb higher than today. If the wind op and first time tongue work the oracle, he could be excellent value at the prices.
Recommendation: 1PT E/W Tight Call
The other selection I like the look of is Echiquier. If you forgive his last run, the previous two races were excellent form. Fifth to Thyme Hill( subsequent G2+G1 winner) beaten nine lengths at Chepstow for example. At the forecast price of 14/1 it’s worth a bet.