Neil Morrice shares all of his best bets and tips for Saturday’s racing coming your way from Sandown Park, Wetherby, Musselburgh, Lingfield Park and Kempton Park on 4 February 2023
Check out Neil's video preview for Lingfield and Sandown Park on Saturday:
Race 1 No1 CHASING FIRE (Nap)
Trainer: Olly Murphy – Jockey: Aidan Coleman
CHASING FIRE hasn’t yet come off the bridle since being switched to hurdles, and in this well contested novice carries a double penalty. If Murphy has a horse that can contend for high honours at the Festivals this is probably the one, and having missed a couple of opportunities last month he can stretch his winning sequence under Rules to four.
Race 3 No7 THE WIDDOW MAKER (Each Way)
Trainer: Joe Tizzard – Jockey: Adam Wedge
Normally a very good jumper, THE WIDDOW MAKER underwhelmed on his latest outing at Ludlow and has been operated on for a wind affliction. Relatively unexposed over fences, he can bounce back to claim a cheque in a race where Red Rookie could also pep up exotic dividends.
Race 4 Virgin Bet Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
No2 BOWTOGREATNESS (Each Way)
Trainer: Ben Pauling – Jockey: Kielan Woods
Carded to go off the rank outsider for this feature, BOWTOGREATNESS can utilise his accurate jumping to shake up some high-profile foes. He went off too quickly for his own good at Ffos Las after being beaten inches on his first run over fences at Exeter, and while improvement is needed, he could produce it, especially if these tricky fences take their toll in the testing underfoot conditions.
Race 6 No9 EQUUS DANCER (Each Way)
Trainer: Peter Bowen – Jockey: Gavin Sheehan
EQUUS DANCER defied an 18-month layoff to land a fourth successive victory at Hereford before Christmas and is a credit to his trainer. Having mixed hurdling with chasing, the nine-year-old reacted favourably to having cheek pieces fitted as he posted a 16-1 surprise. Eva’s Oskar and Rapper were both impressive when last seen and are the two that could cause the selection most problems.
Race 4 William Hill Towton Novices’ Chase (Grade 2)
No1 BALLYGRIFINCOTTAGE (Nap)
Trainer: Dan Skelton – Jockey: Harry Skelton
Visually impressive when bolting up on chase debut at Haydock, BALLYGRIFINCOTTAGE can state with another triumph his case as a proper Cheltenham prospect for the Skeltons. He’s enjoying a select campaign and is living up to the big reputation he developed with a hat-truck of successes in the Irish point arena.
Race 6 No2 NOT THAT FUISSE
Trainer: Dan Skelton – Jockey: Miss H Palin
NOT THAT FUISSE won three hunter-chases on the bounce last spring and is very effective in situations like that he finds himself today. He tends to make the odd mistake, but if his jumping holds up he’ll be hard to stop.
Race 1 No3 NOTLONGTILLMAY (Nap)
Trainer: Laura Morgan – Jockey: Brian Hughes
Hugely impressive in a similar contest over course and distance last month, NOTLONGTILLMAY can remain unbeaten over fences and complete a fine hat-trick. He’s up in grade but is a horse that could have a lot more to offer. His trainer is a dab hand at improving new additions to her stable and he is a case in point.
Race 2 No1 SLIPWAY
Trainer: Ben Pauling – Jockey: Luca Morgan
This Edinburgh National requires horses with bottomless stamina and SLIPWAY has that quality in abundance. Each of his three successes over fences have been achieved with Morgan in the saddle including the Highland National at Perth, and he can enhance his status as a young horse with big things ahead of him by staving off the challenges of Tide Times and Flower Of Scotland.
Race 4 No9 COLLINGHAM
Trainer: Donald McCain Jnr – Jockey: Charlie Maggs
Race 3 No1 FRENCH INVASION (Nap)
Trainer: Mark Johnston – Jockey: Ryan Moore
Moore has a plum book of rides and many will consider the unbeaten FRENCH INVASION his banker. The son of Le Havre bolted up on his Kempton introduction and looks a very smart introductee to the staying ranks.
Race 5 No10 VADREAM (Each Way)
Trainer: Charlie Fellowes – Jockey: Ryan Moore
Although spending most of last season in the wilderness, VADREAM wasn’t beaten far in the Group 1 Ascot Sprint on Champions Day or when equipped with first time blinkers in a Group 3 at Chantilly in the autumn. She hasn’t raced in an all-weather surface since scoring on her debut at Newcastle well over two years ago and remains unexposed while Moore takes the eye riding her for the first time.
Race 2 No8 SPRING PROMISE (Nap)
Trainer: Charlie Appleby – Jockey: James Doyle
Lope De Vega filly SPRING PROMISE found only stablemate Star Guest her superior on debut at Lingfield. She’s going to be more streetwise and looks to hold the cards for owners Godolphin.
Race 4 No5 KINGDOM COME
Trainer: Clive Cox – Jockey: Kieran Shoemark
KINGDOM COME returned from an enforced absence of almost 500 days to land a proper gamble on all-weather debut at this course last month and unless yielding to the ‘bounce’ factor should prove very hard to beat on first handicap assignment.
Race 6 No1 BLUENOSE BELLE
Trainer: Richard Phillips – Jockey: Rab Havlin
The well-named BLUENOSE BELLE didn’t go unbacked when posting a first triumph since joining her trainer here last month. Her shrewd handler doesn’t have many Flat runners but looks to have found another very good opportunity for this Noble Mission mare.
Place Accumulator Perm (Races 1-7)