Three Away from the Big Meetings on Saturday – A Festival Fancy, Four-timer Seeker & In-form Rider
Three Away from the Big Meetings on Saturday
The feature Horse Racing action on Saturday comes from Newbury, which hosts a competitive seven-race card that centres around the Betfair Hurdle. As well as this, Warwick has an excellent supporting meeting that features their prestigious Kingmaker Novices’ Chase. This is not all, however, as there are three angles into horses racing away from these tracks that look well worth exploring for Saturday’s action.
Festival Fancy – Journey With Me (1.40 Naas)
The Cheltenham Festival is getting closer, and connections of the likes of Edwardstone, Sceau Royal and Royale Pagaille (but to name a few) will be hoping that they secure Festival spots with victory in their intended Saturday targets.
Away from the feature action at Warwick and Newbury, however, a horse currently trading as short as 5/1 for a Festival Grade 1 makes his eagerly anticipated Festival prep at Naas on Saturday afternoon.
That horse is JOURNEY WITH ME, who remains unbeaten from three career outings (one point-to-point, bumper and hurdles race).
Running for the same connections as Turners Novices’ Chase favourite Bob Olinger, Journey With Me looks set to contest the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (the race in which his illustrious stablemate took last season), for which he is currently a best-priced 5/1.
Prior to that, however, he takes in the Connolly’s RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Novice Hurdle at Naas, a race secured in 2019 by subsequent Ballymore winner City Island.
Journey With Me was an impressive winner at Leopardstown over Christmas, and that form received a notable boost when the runner-up, Minella Crooner, occupied that same finishing position in a Grade 1 at the Dublin Racing Festival last weekend.
A repeat of that Leopardstown performance should be enough to secure Journey With Me victory on Saturday and, in turn, book his place in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle line-up.
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In-form Jockey – Theo Gillard (Chti Balko, 1.58 Uttoxeter)
Conditional rider Theo Gillard is enjoying the purple patch of all purple patches at present, winning upon 7 of his last 15 rides at the time of writing.
He heads to Uttoxeter on Saturday – a fortnight to the day that he rode an incredible 1,767/1 treble at the very same track – for just the one ride in CHTI BALKO for boss Donald McCain.
Chti Balko is fast approaching the veteran stage of his career now, yet he finished just 4 3/4l off last Saturday’s Grade 3 winner Green Book at Haydock in December, with that rival now officially rated 15lb higher.
After subsequently producing disappointing runs at Haydock and Lingfield, Chti Balko finds himself on a 4lb lower mark here, with his 125 rating 10lb lower than when last successful.
Saturday’s Virgin Bet Handicap Hurdle represents a drop in class from the races that Chti Blako has been contesting, and with the man onboard brimming with confidence at present he rates one to keep close tabs on.
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Four-timer Seeker – Trevolli (4.05 Lingfield)
Owners and trainers will tell you how difficult it can be to get just the one win out of a horse, yet in TREVOLLI‘s case, Ivan Furtado and AR Racing have been treated to three successive wins and the 4yo may not be done just yet as he attempts to land Lingfield’s Betway Casino Handicap on Saturday.
Previously a combined 1-13 for previous trainers Adam West and Philip Kirby, Trevolli brought his form figures since joining the Furtado stable to an impressive 2312111 when justifying even money favouritism over course and distance last month.
That victory followed on from a previous course and distance success, and a Wolverhampton win, and although up 3lb for that recent victory Trevolli will appreciate this small field and may not have stopped improving just yet.