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Craig Porter 21st Mar 2009 - 10:39

Tips for today's TV races

Better than McCririck, we've got Paul Jones from Weatherbys to give his expert previews on today's Channel 4 racing from Newbury and Haydock.

2.20 Newbury

Alderburn’s career-best effort came in this race two years ago when he bolted up by 13 lengths but he has disappointed a little this season and McCoy does not ride now (Andrew Thornton does) which is a negative as the Champion Jockey has a good record on the horse.

If the return to Newbury perks him up, he has a chance for sure but I would have felt a lot happier for his chances if McCoy was riding. Flat, left-handed tracks see Kandjar D’Allier to best light so he has that in his favour but I think he is a bit high in the weights as he has struggled since winning at Haydock earlier in the season and has just dropped 3lbs since then and Haydock may now be his track.

Cava Bien runs under a penalty after winning following a pong absence five days ago so I would be a little worried about two runs in such a short space of time following that absence. The interesting one is My Immortal on his seasonal debut and first run for John Quinn having been with David Pipe.

You may recall we were on him for the 2008 Kim Muir ante-post at a nice price and then he was backed into favouritism only to put up a no show but Quinn’s horses have been in terrific form lately and the booking of Walsh is eye-catching to say the least. He is 2lbs lower than when running a good third to Gungadu 13 months ago which followed a layoff so we know he goes well fresh so he is very interesting indeed.

2.50 Newbury

Ping Pong Sivola in such good heart at present but she has gone up 9lbs for her second in the Festival Plate last week as the front pair pulled 18 lengths clear of the third and she had a hard race setting sail for home six fences out so I would be inclined to look elsewhere as a consequence.

The one I like most for this Mares Novice Chase Final is Jaunty Flight who won the big Mares Novice Hurdle Final on this very card last season so I suspect this has been the long-term target for her local stable (Oliver Sherwood). In fact, she has the look of a Newbury specialist and also made her novice chase debut here which she won before running adequately at Chepstow and then winning a non-event at Carlisle two weeks ago.

I was there that day and she a picture in the paddock and raced enthusiastically so very much has the look of a spring mare. She won the Mares Hurdle Final last year off a mark of 130 and races off 126 here so she has a huge chance and is the one I would want to be with.

3.15 Haydock

Daldini has been raised 13lbs for his last two wins so the handicapper must be close to catching up with him if he hasn’t done so already and I prefer the claims of the other last-time-out winner Wot Way Chief. Malcolm Jefferson’s stable continue to be in good order and drying ground is clearly the key to him showing much improved form on a good surface last time out and the sun continues to shine so hopefully the ground will dry out even more from its current good-to-soft.

There are few other potential improvers in the race but one that could be is Saphir Du Bois. He ran a shocker here last time out jumping very slowly and trailing home which was a surprise as his jumping was fine when winning on his previous start at Wincanton having come over from France. However, he had a clear sight of his obstacles on that occasion from the front but was held up here last time so they revert back to front running, he is very dangerous.

The rest don’t appear to be hiding much from the handicapper.

3.30 Newbury

Carole’s Legacy was out of her depth in the Mares race behind Quevega at Cheltenham but I got the vibes she wasn’t really that well fancied anyway.

She didn’t help by not settling even with McCoy in the saddle so if he couldn’t handle her then Felix De Giles may have his work cut out but maybe she was just too fresh after three months off and, now she has that out of her system, she can go close. Her trainer, Nicky Henderson, has a good record in this race and he also runs Ravello Bay who looks the stable number one with Geraghty riding and I prefer her chances as it looks like has been geared up for this race whereas, with Carole’s Legacy, it looks more of an afterthought.

She was only three lengths behind Carole’s Legacy when they finished fourth and first respectively in the big mares’ bumper at the Grand National Meeting and now meets on her on a whacking 21lbs better terms and has run well on her last two hurdling starts so she is the one to beat for me. If it is not Nicky Henderson winning these mares races then it is usually Alan King and he runs Dancingwithbubbles and Charmaine Wood and the fact Thornton is on the former suggests she is the main hope and she is closely matched with Carole’s Legacy on Ludlow form this season.

3.45 Haydock

The going is faster on the hurdles track (calling it Good as of Friday lunchtime) and I can see this suiting the bottom weight Federstar whose only success came on fast ground.

He fell last time out in a chase but reverts back to hurdling where he ran a decent second on his last try at this sphere but that was on heavy ground and I reckon he will much prefer this livelier surface so he is interesting and will probably start at a very tempting price to boot. Be Brief is also interesting.

Lightly-raced, this is just his fifth start and he ran very well on good ground on his debut before following up with decent efforts on a softer surface. Not out of the first three so far, he is interesting on his handicap debut.

Coq Hardi, who ran a respectable sixth in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hurdle at Cheltenham, is another big player and Peter Bowen usually means business when he books McCoy so all looks set for a big run especially as he is proven on Good ground (won by 18 lengths the last time he raced on such a surface over this trip).

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