William Hill ambassador Nick Luck runs his eye over Saturday’s cards from Cheltenham and Doncaster in the hope of unearthing some value.
HADDEX DES OBEAUX won’t win any prizes for originality in Cheltenham’s TV opener on Saturday (1.15pm), but he’s a hard one to overlook at 3/1. I recognise there could be plentiful speed to mess him around, and that this bigger field is a different challenge, but there is a compelling case on form that he is a good few pounds ahead of the handicapper. A bit more rain won’t hurt, and – if connections thoughts of last year’s Arkle and this year’s Tingle Creek are well founded – he wants to be winning this.
PUNTA DEL ESTE has more to offer than either his price (10/1) or his form figures might suggest (1.50pm). He shaped like the best horse in the Victor Ludorum behind the very talented Bo Zenith, while he ran quite well to a point in the Boodles before he was muscled out of it in a bad barging match down the hill. That may have left its mark as he ran keenly like a horse who had enough for the year at Ascot. Albeit wrong at the weights, he can make his presence felt.
KINONDO KWETU is a really talented horse and can show as much in the feature (2.25pm) at 10/1. The way he travels suggests he’s not that far short of a championship horse, and he has come back strongly from his wind surgery. Given his juddering blunder at Uttoxeter, but for which he’d have almost certainly won, there is no evidence that he cannot win a race off this unchanged handicap mark, and he could easily boss inferiors in this contest.
DUBROVNIK HARRY might be the answer to the Pertemps Qualifier (3.00pm) at 10/1. He looked a horse of significant potential two seasons ago, on which form he looks really well treated, but the wheels fell off in a stuttering campaign last year. This sort of trip is almost certainly what he needs, he remains unexposed and in good hands, and he needs to be competitive to harbour any ideas of getting to the final.
ANCIENT WISDOM looks a perfectly good favourite at 11/8 in the Futurity at Doncaster (2.10). His only defeat came in the golden form race behind Rosallion at Ascot, but there’s little doubt he moved forward again off the break to crush his rivals in soft ground on the Rowley Mile. The time backed up the impression created and, provided he doesn’t recoil from that, he is the one to beat.
BALLYMOUNT BOY is worth another chance in the Prospect Stakes (2.45pm) at 5/2. He’s a heavy horse who ran really well when closing down Vandeek at Goodwood, but he’s been undone by pretty quick ground at York and Longchamp. In addition, he may not have stayed on either occasion, and a return to six furlongs and very soft ground should be right up his street.
ABERAMA GOLD is the pick in a tough TV finale (3.20pm). He won the Stewards’ Cup on ground that was unraceable ten minutes after that contest, and he has got himself back down the weights with less distinguished efforts. I like that Danny Tudhope is back on board, and I like the idea of a six-furlong horse cutting back to five in these conditions. He has a big class edge on most of these and makes appeal at 7/1.
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