Date of Tips: 16/04/2021
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (08:19 16/04/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
It has been a long, long while since we had a good old battle for the jump jockeys’ championship. So, to see the incumbent champion Brian Hughes and challenger Harry Skelton going toe-to-toe in the last throes of the season, provides a fascinating narrative to what has been a season full of talking points.
Both have 7 rides today at Ayr, (on the first day of a staggered two-day Scottish Grand National meeting,) 5 rides at Bangor tomorrow, and have a further seven more days thereafter to either cling on, in the case of Skelton, or rally back ahead from two behind, in the case of reigning champion Hughes.
This face-off will provide a narrative to most races today, but I am hoping that at least two of the seven races today at Ayr will go to other members of the weighing room.
Firstly, in the 2.40 – Coral Backing Scottish Racing Mares’ Handicap Hurdle, run over an extended 3m trip, I believe Miah Grace is a very generous each-way price at 15/2 with William Hill.
Ridden by Henry Brooke for the first time three weeks ago in a valuable and competitive 3m2f handicap hurdle at Kelso, Brooke seemed to get a great tune out of Jedd O’Keefe’s mare, and with the benefit of that sighter, he can steer Miah Grace to good effect today, in what is a slightly lesser test of stamina and also a much weaker race.
Miah Grace has been a notebook horse all season long for me – as, on any number of occasions, she has either forced an overly strong pace over 2m4f on soft ground, and/or, not seen to best effect on account of racing regularly on the slowest part of the track at the likes of Wetherby.
Last time at Kelso, Miah Grace was held on to by Brooke, and raced in behind the pacesetters on much the best ground that she has faced this season, and she seemed to really relish that set-up. In the end she was just outstayed over 2f further than she faces today, and only by the classy and previous dual Grade 2 winner Agrapart and the rapidly improving Doyen Breed, who was himself not disgraced in the Grade 1 3m novice hurdle at Aintree last weekend.
Miah Grace had the rest languishing a further 25 lengths or more behind that day, and given today she meets rivals rated 126 or lower, a reproduction of that Kelso effort would surely be tough to beat.
The other horse I fancy to run well today is Torigni, in the Ayr 3.50 – he has caught the eye in better races this season, but with the dead eight runners currently, it is a risky proposition to recommend each-way this morning, as one pesky non-runner would alter the perspective of the race entirely.