Renowned Horse Racing Tipster and Journalist Ed Quigley, aka ‘Longshot Ted’ offers up his best bets for Saturday”s TV action, and picks out some of the other horses who have made him sit up and take note, of what should be a cracking weekend of sport.
Ed’s Best Tips:
Springwell Bay, 1.20 Ascot, win – BetVictor
Itchy Feet, 2.05 Haydock, win – BetVictor
Sporting John, 2.25 Ascot, e/w – BetUK
Flic Ou Voyou, 2.32 Wincanton, win – BetUK
Knappers Hill 3.12, Wincanton, win – William Hill
Pic D’Orhy, 3.35 Ascot, win – William Hill
There is a plethora of top-class action this week, but the prospect of a little rain forecast means we could be in for some small fields, but nonetheless there will be some quality individuals on display. The return of Shishkin makes the Ascot Chase (3.35) a belter. Can the Nicky Henderson star get back to his old self going up on a trip for the first time?
However, I think the Paul Nicholls trained PIC D’ORHY has everything in his favour and has every chance of dining at the top table. He comes here looking for his fourth win on the bounce, and on right-handed flattish tracks, he has to be feared. The gelding likes to get on with things at the head of affairs, and with Harry Cobden likely to set a bold tempo, if there are chinks in the armour of Shiskin they will get fully exposed.
Fakir D’Oudairies had a hard race when arguably a fortunate winner at Clonmel 4 weeks ago. He has the ‘been there done it factor’ but I just would have slight reservations about him at the price. Harry Cobden will look to poach a soft lead on board the eight-year-old, and he can pose some serious questions to his rivals.
Bet on Pic D’Orhy, 3.35 Ascot, win – William Hill
Elsewhere on the card, I wouldn’t be giving up on an expensive purchase SPRINGWELL BAY (1.20) who looked the part when winning on Hurdling debut at Carlisle last October, before finishing third at Cheltenham’s November meeting. If you go back to his Bumper win at Market Rasen, he really looked the part and remains an unexposed and exciting prospect. The run at Cheltenham in that Grade 2 was a stop-start tactical affair which didn’t suit him at all, and he has been given time to mature by Jonjo O’Neill. I could see him having too much tactical speed for Attacca and company and is getting the nod from me.
Springwell Bay, 1.20 Ascot, win – BetVictor
Also on the Ascot card, I am going to roll the dice with top-weight SPORTING JOHN (2.25) in the competitive Handicap Chase just shy of 3m. He is an enigmatic character, but let’s not forget he is a former Grade 1 winner over fences who are running off 147 in a Handicap Chase. The Philip Hobbs team are in much better form than they have been for some time, and it’s worth noting that the eight-year-old has had wind surgery again. The last time he did, he returned and bolted up over Hurdles. He won on his only previous start at the venue, and I wouldn’t be shocked if in-form jockey Tom O’Brien smuggled sporting John into contention here.
Bet on Sporting John, 2.25 Ascot, e/w – BetUK
Down at Wincanton, I expect it to be a fruitful afternoon for Paul Nicholls and Bryony Frost. The pair combine with FLIC OU VOYOU (2.32) who has a scintillating record at Wincanton, winning three times from four visits – and the only defeat coming at the hands of Edwardstone back in 2019. He seems fairly ground-dependent and has a good record when fresh, so I think on spring ground Flic Ou Voyou can jump his rivals ragged off a mark of 137 which should be within his grasp.
Bet on Flic Ou Voyou, 2.32 Wincanton, win – BetUK
Just over half an hour later, KNAPPERS HILL looks to give the same trainer/jockey combination more success in the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle (3.12). The 7-year-old enjoys quick ground and has won both starts over Course and Distance – including the Elite Hurdle last November. The combination of Soft ground and 2m4f played against him in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. He will be much happier back in these surroundings and could take some stopping in this four-runner affair.
Bet on Knappers Hill 3.12, Wincanton, win – William Hill
The Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle takes place at Haydock (2.05) and it doesn’t look like a particularly hot renewal. ITCHY FEET seemed to get his mojo back when reverting back to Hurdles at Huntingdon last time out, and he could be the one to catch here. After an indifferent spell throughout the depths of the winter, trainer Oly Murphy is back amongst the winners, and this former Grade 1 winning Chaser has the back-class to make his presence felt in this company. Sean Bowen takes the ride on the 9-year-old who is still relatively unexposed over staying trips and smaller obstacles.
Bet on Itchy Feet, 2.05 Haydock, win – BetVictor
Looking further ahead, and the Cheltenham Festival just over three weeks away, the anticipation is really starting to ramp up. There have been several notable performances lately, and I was taken with how well Walking On Air jumped and travelled to win at Exeter on Sunday. In doing so, he has booked his ticket to the Pertemps Final. It will be interesting what the Handicapper does, but he clearly is starting to get the hang of things and I can’t see his revised rating heading much higher than 140. His jumping has been his weak link in the past, but he looks to be getting the hang of things and was much more fluent in that department. Nicky Henderson has said he heads straight to the Festival, and I would be surprised if we are yet to see anything like the ceiling of this horse’s ability. The 12/1 on offer for the Pertemps Final looks generous in my opinion.
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Don’t forget Ed will be back on Monday with his Weekend Review, discussing all the key talking points and fall-out from the major races.
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