Rhys Williams

Horse Racing Tips: Rhys Williams fancies Surf to ride Gibbs' wave of success at Aintree

Our racing expert has four selections on Friday

Our resident tipster has analysed Friday's racing and has four selections at Aintree and Downpatrick.

  • Smart performance on debut

  • Connections of fav helping his price

  • Saunton Surf is overpriced at Aintree

Track suits front running style

Downpatrick 17:00: Hilton De Chaillac 0.5pt win 50/1

Hilton De Chaillac has been well held on both starts under rules but I think he could be ideally suited by this track and run better than his big price suggests.

He made his debut in a maiden at Tattersalls Farm and went a long way clear early on. He was still about ten lengths in front at 3 out but after making a mistake at 2 out, he was soon closed down on by Sam Magee. He couldn't go with that rival late on but managed to hold on for second.

After a break of 321 days, Hilton De Chaillac returned in a bumper at Fairyhouse and again went clear early on but he was caught turning the final bend and faded to finish sixth.

They tried the same tactics for a third time on his hurdling debut at Naas but his jumping was sloppy and often out to the right and he looked to be hanging right on some of the bends so that poor run can be excused.

I think the switch to a right-handed track will help his cause and this track suits front runners so he could put in an improved performance. He's also wearing a tongue tie for the first time which could bring improvement and that may also be a sign that he's had a wind op since his last run.

It might be that he's just a free-going, weak-finishing type and will do so again today but I think he's overpriced given the ability he has and any 25/1 or bigger appeals.

Back Hilton De Chaillac in the 17:00 at Downpatrick 0.5pt win


Sharper test than points to bring improvement

Downpatrick 20:20: Mount Gallion 0.5pt e/w 25/1

The Wallpark is the odds-on favourite for this bumper on his first start for Gordon Elliott and if he improves for the trainer switch then he will be tough to beat but at a big price, I think Mount Gallion could run well now faced with a sharper test.

He ran a similar type of race in all three starts in Irish points. On debut at Portrush, he was in the leading group turning the final bend but was soon left behind by King Of Kingsfield. Mount Gallion was still in contention for a place when falling at 2 out.

In more testing conditions next time at Loughbrickland, he travelled well behind the leaders before being hampered when Daring Plan fell at 4 out. He was pushed along after 3 out and had nothing left on the climb after 2 out and was pulled up.

Mount Gallion's latest start was at Loughanmore and he raced behind the leaders on the inside until coming under pressure after 2 out and swiftly dropped away turning the final bend, eventually finishing fourth.

The manner in which he travelled through those races suggests that the sharper test of a bumper could suit Mount Gallion. There is a concern that he might just be a weak finisher and/or have a wind problem given how quickly he has stopped off the bridle but I think he's overpriced in a race with not much depth and any 16/1 or bigger appeals.

Back Mount Gallion in the 20:20 at Downpatrick 0.5pt e/w


Impressive debut in point bumper

Aintree 20:50: Saunton Surf 2pt win 3/1

There is an unwritten rule that any unbeaten horse with a professional trainer must be put in favourite for point to point bumpers in Britain. In the case of this race, that horse is Cadell who makes his first start for Lucinda Russell after winning two points at Overton.

Those were very weak contests and he didn't look an obvious type for a bumper, which may also explain why he never made the track for Nicky Henderson, so I'm looking elsewhere.

Saunton Surf has shortened in the early market but I think the market hasn't gone far enough and she should be favourite. A €45,000 purchase as a store, she made her debut in a point bumper at Maisemore and couldn't have been more impressive.

She was narrowly at the head of the field of four at the end of the back straight and gradually lifted the pace turning the bend out of the back straight.

She soon had her rivals in trouble and once shaken up in the straight, she quickly went clear and continued to extend the margin all the way to the line. Back in third was King's Quest, who had run well on debut in a bumper at Buckfastleigh.

They took Saunton Surf to the Cheltenham April Sale but she failed to reach the six figure amount that they wanted for her and now ends up in this bumper.

The speed that she showed when winning at Maisemore could be too much for her rivals to handle and they may be looking to win here before going on to the Doncaster Sale next week. Any 5/2 or bigger appeals.

Back Saunton Surf in the 20:50 at Aintree 2pt win


Lack of obstacles could bring improvement

Aintree 20:50: Douglas Longbottom 1pt win 9/1

Douglas Longbottom is another who has shortened but I think he's still a little overpriced. He started his career with Mark Grant and was sent off favourite for his debut in a point bumper at Larkhill but was very disappointing and finished fifth.

He moved to Harry Ryall after that and has run well in all three starts for his new yard despite his jumping letting him down. He ended up a long way behind with just under a circuit to go at Badbury Rings on his stable debut and was still about 25 lengths behind entering the home straight before finishing very strongly to take third close home.

His jumping wasn't as bad next time at Charlton Horethorne but he still wasn't fluent and I'm not sure that track suited him. He was still in contention turning into the home straight but couldn't go with Sea God late on and a nod on landing at the last may have cost him second place.

Douglas Longbottom finally put it all together on his latest start at Cothelstone where he generally jumped much better and went to the front at 4 out before extending away late on to win quite comfortably.

The second had shown a good level of form in Irish points but he wasn't fit at Cothelstone so while it was a good performance by the winner, it wasn't quite as good as it may appear from that form.

The speed that Douglas Longbottom has shown suggests that he should take to this sharper test and the lack of obstacles will be in his favour too. There is a slight concern about this track not being ideal for him but I think he should be a bit shorter and any 8/1 or bigger appeals.

Back Douglas Longbottom in the 20:50 at Aintree 1pt win


Recommended bets


Staked: 103.50pts

Returned: 94.41pts

P/L: -9.09pts


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