There are three meetings in the UK to herald the coming of spring on Tuesday. Two from Leicester and one each from Catterick and Newcastle feature in our editor’s 18,041/1 Lucky 15 top tips.
Happy News (2.25 Leicester)
This mares’ handicap chase does not possess a lot of recent winning form, so while HAPPY NEWS has a couple of dreaded “P”s next to her form, she looks capable of a comeback in this company.
She has been racing against the boys in all five starts this season, defying top weight at Ludlow back in October. She will be at the top of the handicap once again here, but that is not seen as a negative given she has carried it to victory already this term.
Similarly, her win in that open handicap came off a mark 3lb higher than the 102 she will run off here. She was disappointing over course and distance last time out, but won this race a year ago under the same 3lb claim of Jordan Nailor. She is only 3lb higher than that day and should go close again.
For Fitz Sake (3.35 Leicester)
Dawn Raider’s win last time out certainly gives him possibilities of following up. However, preference is for the youngest horse in this field in FOR FITZ SAKE.
He was a bitterly disappointing novice hurdler at the start of the season after arriving at Laura Morgan’s on the back of a point-to-point win in December 2020. However, he never threatened over the smaller obstacles, finishing down the field in all three starts before the turn of the year.
There was significant improvement over fences and while he was still comfortably beaten at Musselburgh, the immediate step up to three miles may have been overkill having raced exclusively over two previously. He is likely to have the stamina for this 1½ furlong shorter trip however.
A mark of 75 is preciously low for a jumps horse, especially one who showed ability to win between the sticks. He can be given chances as he continues to learn his trade over fences.
Be The Difference (3.50 Catterick)
Just three starts back, BE THE DIFFERENCE went off as the 11/10 favourite to complete a hat-trick when only third at Ffos Las in December.
He was still only beaten 1¾ lengths on ground that may have turned softer than ideal. He followed that up by travelling very smoothly over course and distance in January only to fade and finish third.
A close finish at Sedgefield last time saw him fade to finish sixth, but the 1lb ease he received from that makes him of much more interest back up in trip. He won over three miles at Ayr in November and patient tactics on this sounder surface could see him right in the thick of it again.
Autonomy (4.50 Newcastle)
Another for the dual purpose Phil Kirby, AUTONOMY claimed a hat-trick last March, unlike stablemate Be The Difference.
His run started in a very weak Wolverhampton classified race before successive routine wins in handicaps on Southwell’s old fibresand surface. Thise wins took him up a combined 8lb, but he was not seen on the track for 337 days thereafter.
He can be forgiven for needing the run that day and this does not look a strong contest by any means. He should be much fitter on his second start after that layoff and has a 7lb swing with the winner to boost his chances further.