15:55 Taunton - Winning Spark @ 11/4 Sportsbook
This eight-year-old plus handicap at Taunton probably isn't the first race that many people will look at on an action packed top quality race card. But, Jackie Du Plessis' runner here, Winning Spark, loves it at the Somerset venue. He has run at the course six times and only been out the front three on one occasion, winning twice, both wins were over today's distance. He will handle the heavy conditions as well as anything else in the field and looks perfectly placed to get his third win at the track.
In his penultimate race he fell when moving into contention at Exeter but he bounced back well after that and won over course and distance here just 10 days ago. Although he has a 6lb rise for that win, I am not sure what in this field can stop him going in again today.
The horse I fear the most is Blue Buttons he is a course and distance winner and although he was a beaten favourite last time out, he did win a better class race than this at Wetherby off 135 in October and also has proven form on heavy ground. A price of 11/4 is a more than fair price though to trust Winning Spark to go in again.
14:20 Lingfield - Matraash @ 5/1 Sportsbook
Matraash from the Daniel Loughnane yard is certainly no youngster at 10 but he put in an very good run in a better class event than this at Wolverhampton last time out. When they came around the final turn the Elusive Quality gelding looked like he was ready to mount a serious challenge, however he never got the run of the race and had to stop riding in the final furlong. While he maybe wouldn't have won the race he would certainly have been closer at the finish if not for the traffic problems.
He enjoyed a productive season last term and if that last run suggests he is back to his best with Adam Kirby in the saddle he could go close to adding to his three course-and-distance wins. Make no mistake, it is a very competitive handicap but at 5/1 I think he is a big price and boasts solid claims on the pick of his form.
13:00 Haydock - Baywing @ 9/4 Sportsbook
I'm looking for Nicky Richards to get a busy Saturday off to a good start in the opener at Haydock. Baywing has now won three in a row and I'm hoping the handicapper is still playing catch up with the seven-year-old gelding. His three wins have all been between two and half miles and two miles seven on heavy ground and he has been raised another 13lbs for his 14 length win last time. When he started this winning sequence he was rated 89, he is running today off 125.
Ryan Day gets the leg up today and takes a vital 5lbs off, Ryan is a very capable rider and this is his only mount of the day. I am not sure that 125 is the limit of Baywing's abilities and will be backing him to make it four in a row.
Back Winning Spark @ 11/4 Sportsbook - 15:55 Taunton
Back Matraash @ 5/1 Sportsbook - 14:20 Lingfield
Back Baywing @ 9/4 Sportsbook - 13:00 Haydock