Racing fans are spoilt for choice on Wednesday with the Craven meeting at Newmarket, while there is a competitive card at Cheltenham over the Jumps.

Here are Nick Luck’s fancies at both venues. Use our bet calculator to work out your potential winnings.


WILLIE JOHN is taken to make a bright start for trainer Tom Dascombe in the televised opener at Newmarket on Wednesday (1.50pm) at 11/1. He is a very talented horse, but has had a rather patchy career for Roger Varian, often over-racing and leaving himself a hostage to fortune over longer trips. He is not an immediate candidate for this drop to sprinting, but his half-brother Dreamfield was a very smart sprinter for John Gosden (2nd in Wokingham), and – if he adapts – he’ll have a decent class edge over these. This could prove inspired.

ONTARIO can prove a nice early marker for Aidan O’Brien’s better three-year-olds by winning the European Free Handicap (2.25pm) off top weight at 9/2. A hardy two-year-old with plenty of experience, his pedigree nonetheless expects him to progress at three and it seems significant that his best efforts have come on a sound surface, including an excellent second to New Mandate here, which makes 109 look a fair mark. He was subsequently a little below par, but conditions look ideal and Ballydoyle look well forward this year.

SOLID STONE can find a bit more and give Global Giant and Co something to think about in the Earl Of Sefton (3.00pm) at 10/1. We know that this stable can keep squeezing a bit more out of horses like this well into their careers, and Solid Stone never really had the rub of the green last year after his impressive Sandown win (ground too soft, trip too far, drawn badly etc.), but he continued to make little jumps forward and another one would see him right on the heels of these. A nice swinging pace would suit him, he has won at this meeting before, and Ryan Moore gets to ride for the first time since 2019.

SACRED might be vulnerable to a filly with real star quality in the Nell Gwyn (3.35pm), but one of the unbeaten group will have to be significantly above average to beat her if she performs to or exceeds her two-year-old optimum over a trip that her pedigree (out of half-sister to Lady Eli) suggests should really suit, and over which she is completely unexposed. We know she is quicker and classier than most of these and represents pretty good value at 13/2 given what she has already achieved.


BENATAR can have his day in the Silver Trophy at Cheltenham (2.05pm) at 15/2. This track has brought out the best in this horse more than once in deeper waters than this, and he’s now five pounds lower than when an excellent third off a long absence in the December Gold Cup. Conditions should suit his freewheeling style, and he will feel in a more comfortable rhythm back up at this distance.

DELL ORO is a massive price at 40/1 in the Handicap Hurdle (2.40pm), and you don’t associate Daniel Steele with training many Cheltenham winners, but there are grounds for thinking this horse could run really well. First, we know he used to be pretty smart when he was with Gary Moore before losing the plot. As a result, he slipped down the weights, and now the handicapper is convinced he’s a busted flush, slicing 16 pounds off this year alone. He was dropped five more for his recent Fontwell effort, but that was a very good run until the final flight of hurdles on ground far too deep for him. Go back to this very fixture three years ago and you’ll find him running not far off a career best. I’m convinced he can outrun his odds.

Check out all the latest horse racing betting odds at William Hill