Another great day of racing with action from both Newmarket and Cheltenham again and here are Nick Luck’s best bets across both cards.

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JUMBY is a confident pick at 11/2 to run a big race in the televised opener on the final day of the Craven meeting on Thursday (1.50pm). Settling matters with a sharp turn of foot on his debut at Ascot, he improved steadily through his next two runs at two without quite the fireworks I expected. His run in the Washington Singer, however, was excellent on unsuitably soft ground, while he was poorly positioned in a tactical race next time. His mark looks competitive, the slick ground will suit, and I expect him to be in Pattern class this season.

VALIANT PRINCE fits the bill at SP in the Wood Ditton (2.25pm). All unraced, the pedigrees of these horses are not quite as flash as at first glance, with only three of the field boasting a sibling of stakes calibre. Valiant Prince, a son of Dubawi, is one such horse and is out of the Group One performer Chachamiadee, some of whose best form came at this track on a sound surface.

OXTED is impossible to oppose at 4/6 in the Abernant (3.00pm), even allowing for the fact that he has to have recovered well from his fruitless trip to Saudi Arabia. Jouska might be the best bet to take advantage in the event of any mishap.

AKMAAM is an each-way price at 12/1 in the Craven (3.35pm), and merits serious consideration. He looked very impressive in breaking his maiden at Ascot, but the form hasn’t really proved anything special. What struck me more was the way he went through a strong edition of the Autumn Stakes on this track before the soft ground emptied him out. Connections believe this faster surface will bring about further progress, which suggests he won’t be too far away for a yard that has been successful in this race before.


SCHOLASTIC should take a fair bit of beating at 9/4 if handling the track at Cheltenham in the Grade 3 for juvenile fillies (2.05pm). A steady improved through a busy season, she has seen the backend of Duffle Coat, Quilixios and Jeff Kidder. She faces nothing of that calibre here, and can make the most of the generous 11 pounds she receives from Fiveandtwenty.

BOURBON BEAUTY can continue the fine recent run of the Alex Hales stable by taking the Cheltenham feature (2.40pm) at 6/1. She has looked a completely different mare on good ground and – given that she beat two really well handicapped mares at Newbury – an eight pound rise might well not be enough to stop her here.

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