Racing Daily with BetVictor – Mar 20

The first leg of the spring double the Lincoln Handicap looks sure to be run on testing ground at Doncaster on Saturday and Michael Bell’s mud-lark Fire Brigade has been very well backed in recent days. The four-year-old remains 10/1 with BetVictor behind Addeybb (8/1) who beat the Bell runner into third when winning the Silver Cambridgeshire on good to soft ground at the end of September. Note Ryan Moore is jocked up on Fire Brigade.

Wetherby passed their inspection yesterday for today’s jumps card and, unsurprisingly, they will race on heavy ground this afternoon. Progress Drive faces only one rival in the Novice Chase, which is disappointing given the decent prize on offer, but he should be able to give 7lbs to the Kim Bailey-trained mare Sainte Ladylime despite the fact that the latter is 3lbs better off than if this were a handicap. I am not convinced the Bailey yard are firing on all cylinders at present although The Last Samuri ran a good race in the X-Country Chase at Cheltenham last week.

Joe Colliver takes over on Dedigout (3.40) and the jockey could do with a winner to exorcise any demons after the disappointment of Sam Spinner in the Stayers’ Hurdle last week. The time gurus have suggested he helped set the race up for the faster horses rather than make it a true staying test but I hope he gets the opportunity to ride the horse again at Aintree in the Liverpool Hurdle.

The selection has been raised 5lbs for finishing second at Ayr last time but remains well handicapped on his best form and he receives weight from his five rivals this afternoon. Roycano is a fascinating runner returning from a 704-day absence and a check of the market is advised.

Just Georgie and Bandon Roc finished 1-2 in a 3m Handicap Chase at the last meeting here four weeks ago and they must go close with this drop back in trip of no concern on heavy ground.

One horse stepping back up in trip is Doctor Glaz (4.10) who steps back up in trip by two furlongs having won at Doncaster last time from a 4lbs lower mark back in January. There is plenty of pace in the race today and I hope Lorcan Murtagh bides his time on the Rose Dobbin=trained eight-year-old.

Good Boy Bobby is penalised 10lbs for his two wins and his third at Newbury last time was in the best Bumper seen in Britain before last Wednesday’s Festival Bumper. I felt, however, that Up To No Good (5.15) ran a race full of promise also at the Berkshire track on debut back in January and he has been given plenty of time to get over that initial run – Richard Johnson keeps the ride.

The feature race at Clonmel is a £20,000 Novice Hurdle over 2m 6f and the form of Gun Digger’s (3.50) second at Thurles last time was given a boost when the winner – Blow By Blow – won the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham last week by five lengths.

The horse has future chaser written all over him but he should appreciate this step up to 2m 6f and he can get back to winning ways with the Noel Meade trained Minella Fair considered the main danger in a competitive heat in which all five hold realistic chances.

There is a good flat card at Newcastle this evening and the Kevin Ryan-trained newcomer Zarjaz (6.05) is the half-brother to three winners and would not have to be anything special to make a winning debut.

The Sir Mark Prescott handicap debutant Rude Awakening will have his supporters in the Mile Handicap for three-year-olds but Starboy (7.45) missed the break and met trouble in running over C&D when beaten less than two lengths here back in September and won his only subsequent start at Brighton from a 4lbs lower mark.

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