Stuart Redding’s Saturday tips – Saturday 5th March

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The action is non-stop today, with ITV showing ten races from three venues. Borders track Kelso have their big day of the year and the first race could be heading south with Dan Skelton’s SHOLOKJACK. He didn’t jump with much fluency on his hurdles debut at Leicester in December but was much more professional at Wetherby a month later and sauntered clear in the closing stages. His trainer won this race with My Drogo twelve months ago and this one has a similarly high degree of potential. 

Brian Hughes is making relentless progress towards a second jockeys’ championship and I can see him adding two more wins on this card, starting with FAMOUS BRIDGE. He has won just one of four hurdles so far but had just moved into the lead when unseating two out on his handicap debut here last month. He can gain compensation before going on to better things. 

BIG RIVER is just 1-17 elsewhere but he comes alive at this venue and made it eight wins from eleven visits in January, when easily beating three rivals in a course and distance handicap. Lucinda Russell’s gelding should make another bold bid despite taking on some rivals with superior official ratings in the Premier Chase.

METIER got back to winning ways at Lingfield last time out and this looks a good opportunity for him to land another valuable prize. He has taken a while to find his form this winter but testing ground sparked a revival six weeks ago, as he stayed on strongly to beat Gowel Road by more than a length. Harry Fry’s gelding has his ideal conditions again. 

HEARTBREAK KID is the second Brian Hughes-ridden horse I can see winning at Kelso. He has produced five solid efforts this winter and took his form to a new high when winning a Uttoxeter handicap chase by seven lengths last time out. This 6lb higher mark wouldn’t have stopped him that day. 

At the other end of the country Newbury stage another decent jumps card, and I hope ASO can get back to winning ways in their opening race. He isn’t the force of old but his handicap mark reflects that and he ran better than the final result suggests at Exeter three weeks ago, only fading when his big weight told in the closing stages. 

DUBLIN FOUR ended his last race at Ludlow on the floor but he has a great chance of getting back to winning ways in the Greatwood Gold Cup. He looked unlikely to win when falling two out that day but he has scored on his last two visits to Newbury, including over this course and distance in November. 

Get A Tonic is favourite for Doncaster’s first televised race but I much prefer the chances of MISS FAIRFAX. She has won both starts since stepping up in trip and never came out of second gear when making it back-to-back wins at Catterick last time out.

Rebecca Menzies has her string in fantastic form and I think her RETURN TICKET is overpriced in the 2m1f handicap chase. He wasn’t at his best when last seen in November but he has been given a mid-winter break and his most recent victory came after a similar lay-off at Wetherby in October.

The Grimthorpe Chase looks really competitive but SOYOUTHINKSOAGAIN is the one that I find most appealing. He has won two of four chases this season and looked better than ever when winning a three-runner race at Catterick in January. He still has more to offer. 

Bets:

1.15 Newbury: Aso 50p win

1.32 Kelso: Sholokjack £2 win

1.50 Newbury: Dublin Four £1 win

2.05 Kelso: Famous Bridge £1 win

2.20 Doncaster: Miss Fairfax £1 win

2.40 Kelso: Big River 50p win

2.55 Doncaster: Return Ticket £2 win

3.15 Kelso: Metier £1 win

3.30 Doncaster: Soyouthinksoagain 50p win

3.43 Kelso: Heartbreak Kid 50p win

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