There’s no day like a Saturday to try and pick apart races and find a few winners throughout the Irish & English cards. There is a lovely even spread of racing, catering for fans of each code and discipline – with each race just as tough as the next. Perhaps what today might lack for quality, makes up for in competitiveness and value. I am more than willing to have a few darts throughout today, and hopefully we can find that winner that I so desperately desire at the moment.
I’m firstly heading to York, where I have two selections on what looks like a trappy flat card. The feature race of the day, The Grand Cup Stakes, sees a small but select four go to post over the extended 1 mile and 6 furlong trip. Given the weight concession, this must go down as a massive chance for Makawee to improve what is a poor winning strike rate for a horse of his ability. Having been quite prolific in her younger years, Makawee has only once in his last 17 starts. However, that win was a similarly small field at Goodwood last year, and his two runs so far this season have been showing that the ability does remain intact. Should she repeat the form that got her within a neck of Alpinsta on reappearance, she should take all the beating in this contest. At a best price of 9/4 with Paddy Power, I make her a good bet.
The next race at York sees a competitive 6 furlong sprint with 17 runners going to post on the Knavesmire. I fancy the Irish raider in this contest, with Ger Lyons making the eye-catching move to bring Aikido over for this pot. Having slightly disappointing on debut behind the very smart Cadillac, Aikido was subsequently gelded and has been a revelation since. He came a close second in a Dundalk maiden, before going one better at that venue in a maiden and then conditions race. He steps back on to turf here off top weight of 94, but with Sam Ewing taking 5 pounds off, should still be well handicapped to go close. Ger Lyons rarely let’s his horses travel without a serious chance, so at the price of 8/1 with PaddyPower with 5 places available – I think he merits a good each way mention.
Attention now moves to Downpatrick with a typically difficult jumps card to work out with some tasty handicaps giving each punter a chance to get their teeth stuck into it. I’m starting off with the 2.40, a handicap hurdle for horses rated 80-95 over the extended trip of 2m5f. I like the look of a mare at a price in this race in the form of Shean Glory. I have had this Sean Aherne trained mare in my tracker since her eye-catching run at Thurles four starts back. For today’s rider, Sheila Ahern, she got into a great rhythm and made some good late gains to finish fourth. Things haven’t worked out since then, but off a mark of 85 – I feel there is a good run in her. She might not be the most trustworthy, but if given similarly exaggerated hold up tactics, which this rider did superbly on Chosen Hour a few weeks ago, she could run a big race. At a price of 18/1 with William Hill for 4 Places, I’ll take that chance.
Finally, my fourth and final selection comes from the 4.25 at Downpatrick. I’m taking a chance that Matthew Smith can work the oracle again with the progressive Eimear, who has been a revelation since joining these connections. One could argue that off a mark of 107, this mare may not have much in hand. However, she would have needed the run last time out and there was enough optimism in that effort to feel like a good run would be on her way next time out. She is currently in the betting at 5/1 with Bet365 – and I’m hoping that Dillon Maxwell can steer this mare to another victory with race conditions to suit. I will be backing her Each Way in this contest.