14:25 AYR

Top pick: Redicean  | Second choice: Irish Roe 

This is a Grade 2 contest with some classy hurdlers, some of which we saw at Cheltenham a few weeks ago.

This race is often won by an outsider, with only one clear favourite winning in the last decade.

Four previous winners have returned at double-figure prices in the last five seasons.

Only one winner in that period carried more than 11st 1lb, and that’s an important trend considering the ‘Limited’ handicap nature of this race.

Horses with penalties for previous wins have struggled in recent years.

The good ground will be in the favour of versatile REDICEAN, who hails from the Alan King stable that won this in 2012. They also run Dino Velvet.

Outside of the 4 to Win competition, I would recommend each-way bets on Caius Marcius and the mare Irish Roe

15:00 AYR

Top pick: Ballywood  | Second choice: Secret Investor 

This is a Grade 2 novices’ chase, which is usually won by a horse towards the head of the betting, but rarely the favourite (just two in the previous 10 seasons).

In the last decade there hasn’t been a winner returned at bigger than 8/1.

High-performing stables should not be ignored, with Nicholls and Henderson scooping four of the last nine between them.

It’s another Alan King inmate I like here though. 

BALLYWOOD has had an incredible season so far, improving form figures in chases to a reading of 21121 stretching back to November 2017.

He looks a class above these and should justify favouritism.


Top pick: Exec Chief  | Second choice: Borodin 

This is a cavalry charge down the mile straight at Newbury, and an early Flat season puzzle to unravel.

Nearly 30 runners will take part and, as always in these races, being drawn in the right place is imperative, although it the stats are inconclusive as to where the right place is.

This race is rarely won by an outsider, with the last seven winners all from the first five in the betting.

We should focus on horses aged four, five and six, as they were responsible for the last decade of winners.

A claiming jockey has not won this race in the last nine seasons. Horses carrying above 9st 4lb have only won once in the last decade, too.

Jim Boyle’s EXEC CHEF ran extremely well in the Lincoln consolation a couple of weeks ago and can go one better here.

15:35 AYR

Top pick: Big River  | Second choice: Crosspark 

The Scottish Grand National would be worthy compensation for Vintage Clouds, who fell at the first at Aintree last week, but he won’t have it all his own way in a field of superb staying chasers.

Outsiders have a good record, with winning prices in the last five years featuring 33/1, 25/1 and 40/1.

Only one winner in the last decade has carried more than 11st 3lb over this 4mile trip, which is a concern for Beware The Bear who won for us at Cheltenham.

BIG RIVER looks to tick lots of boxes for Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell.



I'd recommend a Trixie (4 bets, 3 doubles, 1 treble) bet on the shorter priced fancies I have for Saturday.

Firstly, I'm picking BALLYWOOD  in the 15:00 at Ayr, with reasoning as above.

Elsewhere, I like SO PERFECT   in the Fred Darling at Newbury (14:10). It looks like this step up in trip will suit her after a short break.

Finally, go for HELLO YOUMZAIN  , who is another stepping up in trip after a short break. He can continue his good form with a win in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury (14:40).


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