Jumps racing dominates the scheduled afternoon action in the UK and Ireland today, with three meetings in addition to an all-weather card at Lingfield before they go under the lights at Newcastle in the evening.
First off is Doncaster (12.55-4.25), then Huntingdon (1.05-4.35), Lingfield (1.15-4.45) and Thurles (1.20-4.50), with Newcastle (4.30-7.35) planned to round things off.
As ever, punters do need to keep an eye on weather forecasts and reports from the courses in case meetings are affected.
Among our fancies is one for trainer Tom Lacey who makes her handicap debut off a tempting mark.
Horse racing tips today – Doncaster and Huntingdon
Adrian Mills’s picks for Thursday are below. Scroll down to read the expert analysis behind them.
Odds correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.
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Horse racing tips: Doncaster, 3.15
This looks a competitive little mares’ hurdle featuring some in-form sorts, but it can go to trainer Lacey’s SAMMY’S GUARANTEE on her handicap debut.
The five-year-old caught the attention of the stewards on her penultimate start at Exeter in December, appearing to be quite tenderly handled having been held up in the rear. Connections subsequently reported she had made a respiratory noise.
Reappearing just under a month later, having undergone wind surgery, the daughter of Black Sam Bellamy revealed the true extent of her talents when winning with a bit to spare at this track to bag a first success.
That form looks decent, with the 124-rated second making a good horse of Alan King’s work hard at Taunton on Tuesday, while on the same card the third home at Doncaster ran a solid race behind an exciting mare trained by Jeremy Scott.
Given the snug success at this South Yorkshire course, you’d imagine that connections are more than happy with an opening mark of 111. The step up in trip from 2m to 2m 3½f looks guaranteed to suit, her dam being by stamina influence Midnight Legend, who ran her best race over hurdles at 2m 6f.
She can go back-to-back and rates a confident selection.
Selection: Sammy’s Guarantee @ SP with BetMGM
Horse racing tips: Huntingdon, 1.05
The opening race at the Cambridgeshire venue is also restricted to mares, this time over fences, and it can go to trainer-of-the-moment Sarah Humphrey, fresh from a first Grade 1 success at Sandown on Saturday.
JACKS TOUCH has a long way to go before she matches the exploits of stable star Nickle Back, but she has made a fine contribution to the yard’s coffers this season, winning three of her five starts having gone chasing.
She landed a breakthrough success at the second time of asking over fences when showing a fine attitude at Leicester in November to shrug off a challenge and draw clear on the run-in despite having been hampered twice.
That race was over an extended 2m 6f – and she hit the line hard – but the daughter of Jeremy coped well with a drop to 2m 5f when defying a 5lb higher mark at Fakenham two starts later.
The lightly raced bay looked progressive that day and confirmed the impression on her next and latest start, putting up her best performance to date to win well over 2m 4f at this track in the middle of last month.
Now a nine-year-old, she has to cope with a 7lb rise, but the thriving mare promises to be suited by this return to further and is 3-3 in all-female company over fences and 2-2 under Daryl Jacob. Expect her to extend the sequence.
Selection: Jacks Touch @ SP with BetMGM
Horse racing tips: Doncaster, 2.40
The highlight in South Yorkshire comes in the middle of the card and Nicky Henderson sets punters a poser by saddling two, both with claims.
Top-weight Pentland Hills came back to form last time and will rightly have his supporters with Freddie Gordon taking off a handy 5lb, but this looks like a stepping stone to Cheltenham and his trainer will not be pleased if the nine-year-old adds anything more to his current rating of 142.
In contrast, RUSSIAN RULER, set to run off 125 but already booked for another 3lb drop, needs to get up the handicap to hold any Festival claims – and he catches the eye on this switch to hurdles.
It is worth remembering what his trainer said about the seven-year-old in a pre-season stable tour, declaring he had “long held him in high regard and he’s a magnificent prospect who could go a long way over fences”.
Sadly, the son of Sholokhov has not taken to chasing this term, an underwhelming initial run preceding two poor efforts, pulling up both times.
The latest of those was at Hereford just 10 days ago, so it is fascinating that his master trainer has wasted no time going back over the smaller obstacles, a discipline in which he was progressing well in the second half of last season.
Henderson is no stranger to striking over hurdles at Cheltenham with horses who have previously been chasing – most famously with Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D’air – and it looks all systems go with stable jockey Nico de Boinville in the plate.
The gelding can burst back to life to tee up a rewarding spring campaign.
Selection: Russian Ruler @ SP with BetMGM
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