A low-key profit yesterday (reduced by a non-runner), but with a superb day's action in store for Saturday, Alan Dudman has a trio of bets planned...
"My other angle is that a bigger field at a track like Doncaster will enable her to get plenty of cover. She was beaten in a muddling race at Kempton, as well as suffering defeat at Newmarket last time (in a race not run to suit)."
13:50 Doncaster - Back Czech It Out
Predominance is the lightly-raced market leader at 9/2, while second favourite Withernsea has been described as the 'unluckiest horse' his trainer (Richard Fahey) has ever had. But we have to dig a bit deeper than that to find our selection.
I am happy to go with Czech It Out for this big field, seven furlong handicap at Doncaster, and he'll be around 22.021/1 on the exchange.
He has a low draw in three (2014 winner Levitate came from that stall, and the 2012 victor in two), he likes soft ground, is best at seven furlongs and has gone close to winning from his current mark of 91. In fact, he was a bit unlucky at Newbury earlier this season, when chopped for room in a 0-95 as he might well have won.
The five-year-old has had a light campaign, due mainly to suffering a pelvis fracture in 2014. So his trainer Amanda Perrett has brought him back well this term with a couple of good runs.
The fact he is so lightly-raced for his age means there could be a touch more improvement to come.
14:30 Aintree - Back Purple Bay
A fascinating race over hurdles, with the return to action of Simonsig - the brilliant Arkle winner in 2013. His stablemate and former Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth also begins his season, and Royal Boy is another that will be making a comeback.
Comeback is very much en vogue for this race, and I would not be in a hurry to back Simonsig at 13/8 after such a lengthy absence.
Purple Bay, however, is far more appealing at around 2/1. He scored first time out last season (on this very day in the Grade 2 Elite Hurdle at Wincanton), and has gone well fresh before.
The John Ferguson six-year-old is a high-class horse with a speedy change of gear. This track should be ideal too, while the 2m4f trip should suit him judged on the way he was outpaced at Wincanton last season. He also has scored on good to soft ground.
It's more of a bet for a horse on the day, as we know he can win fresh, the others will have other targets later in the campaign.
This looked an open race, betting 5/1 the field overnight, and I was quite pleased to see Up In Lights at 12/1.
She's a lightly-raced filly with a handful of starts, and she showed a pleasing attitude when scoring at Yarmouth earlier this term. Her trainer James Fanshawe is in form - striking a neat double at Kempton on Wednesday night, and there's hope that she will improve for the switch to a soft surface, as her sire Makfi tends to have a fair amount of success with his progeny in that sort of ground.
My other angle is that a bigger field at a track like Doncaster will enable her to get plenty of cover. She was beaten in a muddling race at Kempton, as well as suffering defeat at Newmarket last time (in a race not run to suit). But this could be more her thing, and might improve from a low weight stepping up in trip.
Saturday's Recommended Bets
Back Czech It Out @ 22.021/1 in the 13:50 at Doncaster (half point)
Back Purple Bay @ 2/1 Sportsbook in the 14:30 at Aintree
Back Up In Lights @ 12/1 Sportsbook in the 14:55 at Doncaster (half point)
Weekly P /L (one point each bet excluding advised in-running trades)
Last week total: + 5.50
This week total: + 0.40
Running total: +22.85