Neil Morrice shares all of his best bets and tips for Saturday’s racing coming your way from Newbury, Newcastle and Wolverhampton on 10 February 2024.
Race 2 No9 PICANHA (Each Way)
Trainer: Richard Phillips – Jockey: Finn Lambert
PICANHA is carded to start as one of the roughies in this handicap hurdle, making his first visit to the track in not far short of two years. Always the apple of his trainer’s eye, the ten-year-old attracted plenty of support in both runs in handicaps and was a snug scorer under Lambert when last seek at Warwick in the spring of 2022. He’s done plenty of work ahead of this and needs to be taken seriously.
Race 4 BETFAIR EXCHANGE GAME SPIRIT CHASE (Grade 2)
No2 EDWARDSTONE (Nap)
Trainer: Alan King – Jockey: Tom Cannon
EDWARDSTONE spent the early part of the season chasing Jonbon’s shadow but then failed to take advantage of what looked a good opportunity over a longer trip at Kempton. Back in his comfort zone and without that adversary to worry about, he can bounce back at the main expense of Boothill, who after winning two handicaps fell behind Editeur Du Gite in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton over Christmas.
Race 5 BETFAIR HANDICAP HURDLE
No8 BRENTFORD HOPE (Each Way)
Trainer: Harry Derham – Jockey: Paul O’Brien
This historic race, which presents punters with a betting bonanza, needs a horse that travels kindly off a strong pace and handles plenty of cut in the ground. Several in the contest are capable of doing that, including top weight LUCCIA and Irish raider OCASTLE DES MOTTES.
ALTOBELLI also brings solid form to the table but my preference is for BRENTFORD HOPE, who is trained at Boxford, a village only four miles from the racecourse. The seven-year-old has put together an impressive record of three successes since joining his trainer, and went down by only two lengths when third to Hansard over this course and distance when last seen in early December. Expect the seven-year-old to be one of the last to come under a ride, and I expect him to earn.
Prediction: 1st BRENTFORD HOPE, 2nd Altobelli, 3rd Luccia, 4th OCASTLE Des Mottes
Race 6 No2 INCH HOUSE
Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill – Jockey: Jonjo O’Neill Jr
INCH HOUSE can make it a second success in this race for Jackdaw’s Castle in the last two seasons. The seven-year-old has been selectively campaigned to win two of his four starts over fences. He overcame a couple of novicey leaps to score over this course and distance in December, and did little wrong when chasing home Stumptown at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. He’s shaping like a horse that could enter calculations for the Ultima at the Festival next month.
Race 5 No6 TWIRLER (Nap)
Trainer: Charlie Fellowes – Jockey: Kieran Shoemark
TWIRLER went down as an eye-catcher in a blanket finish at Lingfield when Bonaventure was four lengths adrift of her. While the latter is entitled to improve off that introduction, TWIRLER enjoys the luxury of the rail and can stamp her authority as the best bet of the night.
Race 6 No4 MERESIDE MADNESS
Trainer: David Barron – Jockey: Joe Fanning
A 2lb rise for his recent course and distance triumph doesn’t look particularly excessive for MERESIDE MADNESS, who now having got his head in front can thwart the equally in form Chapman.
Race 9 No3 POSSIBLE AMBITION (Each Way)
Trainer: John Quinn – Jockey: Jason Hart
POSSIBLE AMBITION could be a play in the nightcap, if at that stage you are trying to jump out of jail. It’s two years since he posted an only success on sand at this course, but when not beaten far by Intoxicata looked like a horse who is ready to emerge from the wilderness.
Race 2 No1 CHARLATAN (Nap)
Trainer: David Simcock – Jockey: Callum Shepherd
CHARLATAN has a high knee action and hits the ground hard, but while taking a while to reach top gear has looked well in charge in both his successes at Kempton and Lingfield. He’s out for more under a 5lb penalty, and should be even better suited to this more galloping course.
Race 3 No3 KING’S REIGN
Trainer: Charlie Appleby – Jockey: Tom Marquand
KING’S REIGN has a pedigree to die for, though the 1,500,000 guineas price on his head as a yearling makes jaw-dropping reading ahead of this baptism at a relatively low key venue. The son of Dubawi needs to show what he can do in a race his trainer can dominate.
Race 5 No4 HE’S A GENTLEMAN
Trainer: Hugo Palmer – Jockey: Kevin Stott
HE’S A GENTLEMAN has developed a ‘Mr Consistency’ aura around him and goes into this with impressive earning figures of 231212. If the grey is in the same kind of form where he left off 2023 he should be a big player, while he should soon be able to assume a close up stalking position from his low draw.
Race 6 No10 CHARLIE’S CHOICE
Trainer: David Simcock – Jockey: Callum Shepherd
A second advice from the Simcock stable is CHARLIE’S CHOICE, who was an authoritative scorer at Kempton last week to put him on the cusp of completing a hat-trick. The four-year-old is perfectly drawn to obtain a forward position for a jockey that gets on well with him.