Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for every UK and Irish horse racing meeting on Friday, including day one of Ayr's Scottish Grand National fixture.
Friday’s bumper schedule of horse racing fixtures takes in seven meetings across the UK and Ireland, including the first day of the Scottish Grand National meeting at Ayr.
In addition to some high-class jumps racing action at the Scottish track, there is further racing over the sticks at Fontwell and Southwell; while Kilbeggan in Ireland also go over jumps.
Meanwhile, on the flat there is action from Newbury and Bath, and also Dundalk in Ireland on the all-weather.
Fontwell (jumps) – 1.50 – 5.05pm (7 races)
Newbury (flat) – 2.00 – 5.40pm (8 races)
Ayr (jumps) – 2.10 – 5.25pm (7 races)
Southwell (jumps) – 4.45 – 7.45pm (7 races)
Bath (flat) – 4.55 – 8.00pm (7 races)
Kilbeggan (jumps) – 5.00 – 8.05pm (7 races)
Dundalk (flat, aw) – 5.20 – 8.55pm (8 races)
(3.30) Alcala bounced back to winning form just three days ago, but Paul Nicholls’ charge could be vulnerable under a penalty with the possibility this may come too soon; preference then is for another last-time winner in OPENING BATSMAN
(2/1, William Hill
) who snapped a losing streak stretching back almost two years when resuming winning ways at Ludlow earlier in April.
Harry Fry’s charge is very much in the veteran stage of his career now, but that win showed he was no back number off this mark which still leaves him fairly treated on the pick of his old form; and if he can replicate that last-time run then he could well upset the odds here.
Opening Batsman can follow up his last-time win.
(4.30) LAKE CHAPALA
(11/8, Paddy Power
) made the perfect start for Chris Gordon when scoring readily at Plumpton on Sunday, and the Shantou gelding can follow up.
A dual-winner for Tim Vaughn previously last term, he has run some solid runs in defeat; having readily seen off Lovely Bubbly last time, scoring by seven lengths he could defy the penalty he has to carry for that success, and a repeat should see him double up.
1.50 – Full
2.20 – Weststreet
2.55 – Pilansberg
3.30 – Opening Batsman
4.00 – Tactical Manouevre
4.30 – Lake Chapala
5.05 – Wine Women An’Song
) enjoyed a fine debut season, never finishing worse than third in any of his starts and winning twice at Ffos Las over the summer months.
Andrew Balding’s Dashing Blade gelding possibly just needed the run on his return to action from a six-month break at Newcastle last month, finishing around five lengths’ third behind Gavlar having travelled well for much of the way; and entitled to progress on the back of that effort, he should strip fitter now and can resume his earlier progress off this basement weight.
(3.05) RAHEEN HOUSE
(7/2, Paddy Power
) showed plenty of ability in two runner-up starts at this venue last term prior to getting off the mark in ready fashion at York in October, beating Native Prospect.
Brian Meehan’s Sea The Stars colt lost nothing in defeat on his final run, finishing just over two lengths’ fourth behind Rivet in the Racing Post Trophy, and that form sets the standard in a cracking contest.
He can reverse juvenile form with the re-opposing Temple Church who beat him when the pair met here in September given the improvement he has shown, while Hughie Morrison’s charge has been absent since.
Open to considerable further progress, he should be suited by this step up in distance given his breeding, and he could prove a tough nut to crack here.
2.00 – Gold Town
2.30 – Swashbuckle
3.05 – Raheen House
3.40 – The Jean Genie
4.10 – Chessman
4.40 – Double Up
5.10 – Superioritycomplex
5.40 – Tirania
(2.40) GREAT FIGHTER
) struggled over longer distances earlier in the season, but the Street Cry gelding seemed appreciative of the lesser trip when posting a solid third behind the high-class Project Bluebook at Musselburgh in January.
Jim Goldie’s charge bettered that run when finishing fourth in Listed company back at that venue next time behind Diego Du Charmil, and he has subsequently acquitted himself well on the flat when finishing sixth to Codeshare at Newcastle.
Back over timber, he should be competitive off this mark with a first-time visor tried in hope the headgear can produce some improvement; while the form of his third behind Project Bluebook has been significantly franked, and he may be underestimated to go well at a price with a good 3lbs claimer up.
Drumlee Sunset can score at Ayr on Friday.
(3.50) DRUMLEE SUNSET
) scored on his chase debut when beating the smart Aux Ptits Soins at Exeter back in November, having previously won over hurdles at the same venue; and Philip Hobbs’ charge has lost nothing in defeat in a trio of subsequent starts where he has finished runner-up on all three occasions.
Those include last time out at Exeter where he came off worst behind the classy Clan Des Obeaux in March; he jumped left there, so this track may well suit; while it was his first run for three months, and he possibly wasn’t fully at his best, so he is entitled to strip fitter now.
He could well prove the answer to a very tricky puzzle for punters in what looks a cracking contest on paper.
2.10 – Burbank
2.40 – Great Fighter
3.15 – Winningtry
3.50 – Drumlee Sunset
4.20 – Nomoreblackjack
4.50 – Happy Diva
5.25 - Lochnell
(5/2, Sky Bet
) has been held back by his temperament, often looking a hard ride, and the Midnight Legend gelding remains a maiden whose losing sequence is mounting up.
However, Caroline Bailey’s charge has been consistent in recent runs with a string of in-the-frame efforts although he’s never seriously threatened to get off the mark. Nevertheless, he has claims off this mark of finally breaking his duck and he should give another good account of himself here although he’ll again make Robbie Dunne work for his fee with his free-going tendencies likely to come to the fore again.
4.45 – Cup Final
5.15 – Thoonavolla
5.45 – Elkstone
6.15 – Galway Jack
6.45 – Back To Balloo
7.15 – Sunnytahliateigan
7.45 – Colonial Dreams
(6.00) GLENROWAN ROSE
(7/1, William Hill
) hit her stride last term, showing progressive form to post back-to-back wins at Hamilton and Ripon in May, and following a break the Bushranger filly returned to post a solid runner-up effort off this mark at Musselburgh behind Caspian Prince where she was beaten just over one length.
Keith Dalgleish’s charge lost all chance at the start when making her return to action back at the Scottish venue earlier in the month, rearing up as the stalls opened and giving up so much ground that she was allowed to coast home in her own time.
Forgiven that run, she is worth another chance to build on the progressive form she had shown last term.
Bath are racing on Friday evening.
(7/4, Paddy Power
) has been kept busy since the turn of the year, but Archie Watson’s charge continues to run consistently and he was a winner at Lingfield in January prior to posting some solid in-the-frame efforts subsequently.
Not seen to best effect last time back there when last of four behind Balancing Time in a slowly-run race, the Dansili gelding can get back on track switched to turf where he can race from a lower mark. There should be more pace on this time around, and he can bounce back here with Ed Greatrex’s 3lbs claim good value.
4.55 – Mutanaaseq
5.30 – Wordiness
6.00 – Glenrowan Rose
6.30 – Attain
7.00 – Star Of Lombardy
7.30 – International Law
8.00 – Ashwaq
(6.35) SCENIC STAR
(12/1, Paddy Power
) hasn’t set the heather alight in a pair of chase runs this term; but he was a hurdles winner at Downpatrick last July, and back over hurdles for this outing, Gavin Cromwell’s charge can bounce back to winning ways.
The Erewhon gelding warmed up for this with a spin on the all-weather at Dundalk earlier this month, finishing sixth behind Repare Mon following a five month break; that run should have brought him on, and he looks fairly treated off this mark on the pick of his form so no surprise if he were to post a big run back over the smaller obstacles.
5.00 – Great Khan
5.35 – Icario
6.05 – L’attesa
6.35 – Scenic Star
7.05 – Isabella Liberty
7.35 – Show And Go
8.05 – Coeur De Beauchene
(6.25) BRAVE DISPLAY
(4/1, Sky Bet
) stepped up markedly for the break and application of a visor when going close here in March behind Hailstone, beaten just a half-length; and Pat Prendergast’s charge could go one better.
The Requinto gelding cut little ice in a trio of starts previously before that much better run back from a five months break in claiming company, and stepping into a handicap for the first time he could improve again to defy a 6lbs rise in the weights given that one of those who finished behind him last time has subsequently won next time.
Joseph O'Brien can saddle a winner on Dundalk's Friday evening racecard.
) looked very green on her debut here in December, never threatening to get involved in the finish but sticking well to her task to finish third.
Joseph O’Brien’s charge is likely to improve for that experience back from a break and upped in trip, and the Motivator filly can get off the mark at the second attempt with Ana O’Brien claiming a handy 3lbs.
5.20 – Sirici
5.55 – Complicit
6.25 – Brave Display
6.55 – Repare Mon
7.25 – Detailed
7.55 – Glastonbury Song
8.25 – Our Max
8.55 - Cresendo