ITV Racing has a bumper Saturday afternoon offering this week with nine races from Kelso, Newbury and Doncaster.
The Scottish track dominates, with the Morebattle Hurdle (1.50pm) the feature among five contests from Kelso, while at Newbury there is the Greatwood Gold Cup (2.45) and at Doncaster staying chasers are on site for the Grimthorpe Chase at 3.15, with two races apiece from Berkshire and South Yorkshire.
ITV Racing is on air from 1.00 to 4.00 on the main channel and our racing expert has selections for all of Saturday’s terrestrial action.
ITV Racing predictions – Kelso, Newbury and Doncaster, Saturday March 4
Enda McElhinney has recommendations for all nine races on Saturday. You can read the analysis behind his selections below.
Odds correct at time of publishing and subject to change.
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1.15pm Kelso – bet365 Cyril Alexander Memorial Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (2m 5½f)
Sholokjack did the job nicely at Lingfield (2m 4f, good to soft) in late January and is respected despite an 11lb hike in the ratings, but his sole visit here over hurdles was a poor effort and that is something of a worry.
GAILLIMH A STOR was shaping well on his chase bow at Ayr in January when he fell three out, but he has since run a pleasing race at the same track (3m, soft) behind two smart rivals and has his chance to shine in this line-up.
Selection: Gaillimh A Stor @ 7/1 with Sky Bet
1.30pm Doncaster – Virgin Bet Cheltenham Festival Money Back Handicap Chase (2m ½f)
It is debatable whether CALICO was flattered by a sneaky mid-race move or really gave leading Arkle contender Jonbon a major scare in their Kingmaker duel at Warwick.
The answer is somewhere in between in all probability but, either way, it was a good effort from Dan Skelton’s charge and he has only rated 1lb higher than when scoring at Southwell in January before that Grade 2 dust-up. Calico has fine claims back in a handicap.
Selection: Calico @ 13/8 with Sky Bet
1.50pm Kelso – bet365 Morebattle Hurdle (2m, Handicap)
Emmet Mullins has previous in this, winning with The Shunter two years ago, and his unexposed handicap debutant Mctigue is much respected, but a four-year-old has never won the Morebattle and he is short enough in the betting to merit looking elsewhere.
Tritonic is a huge price if he finds his mojo off a reduced rating, but DEERE MARK rates a safer option for shrewd trainer Sam Thomas. He won tidily at Kempton on handicap bow in January and should continue to go well from 6lb higher.
Selection: Deere Mark @ 7/1 with Sky Bet
2.10pm Newbury – BetVictor Non-Runner-No-Bet At Cheltenham Seniors’ Handicap Hurdle (2m 4½f)
Dargiannini left his rivals trailing across the Midlands when he won at Uttoxeter over a similar trip in January. He has only had nine runs over hurdles (three wins, three places) and so is interesting taking on mostly more exposed rivals, but Harry Derham’s charge has to carry a big weight this time.
CHAMPAGNE CITY has had two relocations since he last ran over hurdles at Newton Abbot in July. He ran well in two all-weather spins for this handler in December, and is capable, fresh and nicely treated when factoring in his rider’s 7lb claim.
Selection: Champagne City @ 12/1 with Sky Bet
2.25pm Kelso – bet365 Premier Novices’ Hurdle (2m 2f, Grade 2)
Taking on Emmet Mullins on this card could be make or break. His Feronily has plenty of scope to make a splash on his jumping bow, but NEMEAN LION has experience on his side.
Kerry Lee’s son of Golden Horn won at Hereford in November on his jumping bow, chased home the smart Hullnback next time at Haydock and was then an honourable third in the Grade 1 Tolworth at Sandown in January. That is all useful form.
Selection: Nemean Lion @ 10/3 with Sky Bet
2.45pm Newbury – BetVictor Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase (2m 3½f, Premier Handicap)
An intriguing contest as both Paint The Dream and ZANZA are unbeaten over fences at this track and just seem to perform infinitely better here.
There is nothing to split them on ratings, little between them in the betting and no reason to doubt either. The way in which Zanza fended off Hitman three weeks ago just about shades things in his favour for Philip Hobbs.
Selection: Zanza @ 3/1 with Sky Bet
3.00pm Kelso – bet365 Handicap Hurdle (2m 5f)
A hot race with Dancewiththewind, Well Educated and SANTOS BLUE combining to win their last seven starts over timber.
The Dan Skelton-trained selection was strong at the finish last time out at Chepstow (2m 3½f, good to soft) and promises more still on that evidence, while he clearly gets on well with 7lb claimer Ben Sutton – and they can make it 3-3 together.
Selection: Santos Blue @ 3/1 with Sky Bet
3.15pm Doncaster – Virgin Bet Grimthorpe Handicap Chase (3m 2f)
Last year’s winner Undersupervision has struggled since and January’s Sky Bet Chase winner Cooper’s Cross is a more serious contender on that form.
However, DOES HE KNOW is a Grade 2 winner at best and showed in November around Cheltenham (3m 3f, good) that he is capable of carrying a big weight and succeeding against inferior opponents. Kim Bailey’s charge is taken to prove his class.
Selection: Does He Know @ 3/1 with Sky Bet
3.35pm Kelso – bet365 Premier Chase (Listed, 2m 7½f)
While five are entered, Zanza will surely head for his beloved Newbury – leaving The Shunter and LE MILOS as the key players.
The former won over hurdles on this card two years ago before adding a chase success at the Cheltenham Festival and grabbing a £100k bonus, but he will have it all on to win now despite getting 4lb from Dan Skelton’s Coral Trophy victor.
That Newbury triumph already stands up to plenty of scrutiny and this thriving eight-year-old can make it 3-3 since relocating to this trainer.
Selection: Le Milos @ 15/8 with Sky Bet
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