Racing Daily with BetVictor – May 23

The most significant news coming out of Epsom’s Breakfast With The Stars on Tuesday morning was the confirmation from trainer John Gosden that Dante winner Roaring Lion would take his chance at Epsom in ten days’ time. Roaring Lion is 6/1 at BetVictor to follow up in the Derby.

The colt was no match for the unbeaten Derby favourite Saxon Warrior at Newmarket in the Guineas, but he was not stopping when hitting the line strongly over 10f at York although he is not guaranteed to appreciate the additional quarter mile of Epsom.

I feel there are now a number of realistic alternatives to Saxon Warrior (4/6 with BetVictor) in the colts’ classic and I feel the Guineas winner will drift in the run up to the big day.

There is a good card at Yarmouth this afternoon and there will be a number of winners come out of the opening 6f Novice Stakes with a number of the top Newmarket yards in opposition.

I thought Seyasah (4.55) was a good winner on soft ground here at the beginning of the month for Chris Wall and I hope the step up to a mile for the first time brings about further improvement. Tom Queally did us a favour on board The Tin Man at Windsor earlier in the week and there appears no reason why this filly – who was winning for the first time on her 11th start – cannot improve again now that she has a win under her belt.

Slow To Hand (5.25) has been raised 3lbs for finishing runner up over a mile here last week but can run off the same mark this afternoon and the hope is that today’s drop in trip will not inconvenience. The selection is a C&D winner under today’s pilot Jamie Spencer in first time blinkers last August and I will be disappointed if he doesn’t go very close.

The Warwick executive have expressed their concern over the number of runners but they do have a potential star on the card courtesy of Dead Right (2.10) who is making his hurdling debut following a 13-month absence.

The selection beat non-other than Grade 1 winning hurdler Next Destination in a Punchestown Bumper when last seen and it will be disappointing if he does not make a winning start to his hurdling career.

Black Sam Bella (2.40) carries a 6lbs penalty for scoring at Aintree on Friday night but he is still 8lbs well-in this afternoon and is impossible to oppose even in this better race for the Skeltons such was the authority of his performance last week.

Malton Rose is unbeaten in two starts for Nicky Henderson but he has not seen the track since July and it was only a four-runner race he won at Uttoxeter last summer.

I am going to take a chance on Okotoks (3.15) on his chase debut for Fergal O’Brien. The selection finished second at Perth under AP McCoy and had some very good hurdles form in his native Ireland. He has not pulled up any trees since moving to Fergal O’Brien but he looks fairly treated for his chase debut and it will be fascinating to see if the market speaks in his favour.

Dandy Dan returned from a break to run well at Fontwell and he and Sister Sibyl are big dangers in what promises to be an informative contest.

The feature £25,000 hurdle will be run at a good clip and that should suit both Mister Universum and Zubayr (3.45) with marginal preference for the Paul Nicholls-trainer runner who was not quite at his best last season. If he returns to his Scottish Champion Hurdle second behind Chesterfield from last April, he will be hard to beat from a 3lbs lower mark.

Dan Skelton is riding at both Warwick and Southwell and his Free Stone Hill is likely to be all the rage in the opener given the form of his second at Warwick has been given a boost by the win of the third horse home Windspiel at Towcester on Monday.

Free Stone Hill has been called a few names in the past and at the likely odds, I prefer both Sword Of Fate and Copper West (5.35) with preference for the latter. The selection is a winning point-to-pointer and has had a wind operation since finishing weakly at Carlisle last time. The selection often travels well but finishes weakly and the hope is that the breathing operation will work the oracle.

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