Weekend racing previews
Paul Jones previews Saturday's racing
1.45 NEWBURY - EBF/Thouroughbred Breeders' Association Mares' Novices' Chase Final
Carole's Legacy is back over fences after splitting the crack Irish mares Quevega and Voler La Vedette over hurdles at the Festival but this comes plenty quick enough just 11 days after a hard race so it must be doubtful she can repeat that form. Besides, it usually pays to follow mares carrying 11st in this novice chase final like the last seven years and that brings in Calusa Crystal for the Hobbs team whose team looked in sparkling condition in the paddock at the Festival. The winner of two of her four chase starts, with the defeats coming at the hands of class acts like Crack Away Jack and Riverside Theatre, she couldn't have won any more easily at Warwick last time out. Over Sixty's Fontwell winning form was franked when the third and fourth won the Midlands National and Byrne Group Plate in the last eight days but Synchronised or Great Endeavour were anywhere near their best that day. She has her chance off 11st 4lbs on her last start before she heads to the paddocks but I do prefer a lower-weighted mare for this race.
2.00 DONCASTER - William Hill Spring Mile
The draw is likely to be crucial and the result of this race will doubtless have an effect on the market for the William Hill Lincoln later on the card. The last two winners were lightly-raced four-year-olds from southern yards so maybe Elliptical could complete the hat-trick for Gerard Butler and Eddie Ahern. Encouragingly, he won first time out last season when winning a Goodwood maiden and ran two solid races at big tracks during the summer but his form tailed off in the backend. Maybe first time out could be the time to catch him. Ben Chorley is also interesting as David Evans had a sensational season last campaign and did particularly well with horses running for the first time for him having been with other yards. This will be Ben Chorley's first run for Evans and his first outing since running down the field in the John Smith's Cup but he did win four of his eight career starts for David Lanigan in a career blighted by troubles as he is now a six-year-old. Kiwi Bay and Conry are others well worth considering in a wide-open handicap.
2.15 NEWBURY - EBF Mares' "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle Final
This race has been the plan all season for Asturienne and you can forget her long odds-on defeat last time as she had puss in her foot and couldn't put it on the ground after the race. The presence of Banjaxed Girl off top weight has kept the weights down nicely for her but the form of Alan King's yard is a slight worry, though he had a couple of winners yesterday but I would be concerned if it rained and am very worried about Kerada as Henderson usually lays a good one out for this and also Alegralil if she is back to form and she was being mentioned by McCain in the same breath as Whiteoak earlier in the season but has to bounce back off two disappointing runs but the yard and in great form right now as a brace of winners at the Festival indicates. Ryde Back is also interesting for Henderson as she beat Asturienne in November at Huntingdon under an attacking ride and David Bass takes off a handy 7lbs.
2.35 DONCASTER - Williamhill.com - Live Casino Cammidge Trophy
Prime Defender won this race last season and runs again here but he loves fast ground which he had in this race last season whereas they are currently calling it Soft this time around which would be a worry to his chances. Last season's second Pusey Street Lady is more interesting as she will handle soft ground having won at this meeting two years ago by five lengths on such a surface so also clearly comes to hand early as she also showed in this race last year when second at 40/1. They could have gone for the handicap on Sunday where she doesn't look badly treated but prefer a crack at this more valuable Listed race. Tax Free is the one to beat of course holding a significant ratings advantage over the field and he won the Abernant Stakes first time out last season, won first time out on his racecourse debut and was also a close-up third in the Palace House Stakes on his seasonal return in another year so he should be more than ready for his seasonal debut but is likely to be skinny enough as a consequence.
3.10 DONCASTER - William Hill Lincoln
Four of the last 11 favourites have won the William Hill Lincoln and most of those were lightly-raced sorts from powerful yards so I can see Penitent extended that sequence and give Willie Haggas a third win in the race, it's all a question of whether you are happy to take a short price in an open handicap and who knows if stall 1 will a positive or negative or indifferent? Given how strong he is at the head of the betting there is some decent each-way value somewhere if we can find it and suggest Albaqaa and Huzzah appeal as each-way alternatives. Although the really fancy prices about Albaqaa went earlier in the week, Richard Fahey's charge looked like his third in his trial at Wolverhampton should have set him up and Paul Hanagan rides which suggests he is the pick of the stable's three runners. Barry Hills' Huzzah, who was fifth in last year's Lincoln only beaten just over two lengths for second and only and has got in off a 5lbs lower mark this time having also gone on to finish second in the Royal Hunt Cup so he strikes me as a major player. Mia's Boy and Advance are regulars in these kind of races down the years and have place prospects again as does Mull of Killough who improved throughout last season and has been trained specifically for this race.
3.25 KEMPTON - Williamhill.com Magnolia Stakes
If Penitent wins or goes close in the William Hill Lincoln then expect South Easter to take a lot of beating here as they have been working well together. If Penitent blows out 15 minutes earlier, then that would seemingly detract from his chances. The winner of the Dee Stakes last season on just his second ever run, he was then was a shade disappointing when sixth for the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot when he started favourite but he is a big, backward type so I expect him to come into his own this season. I am taking the view Penitent won't be far away in the Lincoln so rate him as the one to beat as I write but we will have a better idea after his work companion has run. Heliodor and Suits Me are his main threats if using official ratings as a guide and I prefer Heliodor of the pair as his second placing ten days ago on his return should have put him spot on and he has to run very well.