The weather may be playing havoc with racing here in the UK, but that doesn’t stop us from having our horse racing tips ready to rock and roll ahead of the weekend.
The jumps season is off and running and we are treated to some excellent action from Wincanton this Saturday, where the Unibet Elite Hurdle tops the bill.
Luke Parkinson has dipped into this week’s edition of the Racing Post Weekender and put four selections into a juicy 185/1 acca.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Danse Idol catches the eye as she was a model of consistency last term and looks the ideal type for the first running of the Richard Barber Memorial Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.
Depending on how she runs on Saturday, the decision will be taken as to whether she carries on over hurdles or switches to chasing as there are now plenty of good opportunities for classy mares such as her under both codes.
The Colin Tizzard-trained Reserve Tank was beaten on his chase debut at Chepstow last month but that wasn’t a bad effort in second behind Jarveys Plate.
The dual Grade One-winning novice hurdler should be hard to beat with the benefit of that experience.
Nicky Henderson hopes Fusil Raffles can develop into a Champion Hurdle contender and he can strike in the Unibet Elite Hurdle at Wincanton on Saturday.
Twice the winning trainer of this Grade Two, including with Verdana Blue 12 months ago, Henderson thinks plenty of Fusil Raffles, who bolted up in the Adonis last term, but suffered a nasty cut that ruled him out of Cheltenham.
He made it to Punchestown and was convincing in the Grade One juvenile there and should have loads more to offer after just four starts. The son of Saint Des Saints has been shaping up nicely at home and looks poised for a big effort.
The champion trainer is represented by Present Man and Give Me A Copper, but the pair may have to give best to the Harry Fry-trained Just A Sting.
Fry’s charge has a decent record when fresh going right-handed on decent ground, and those conditions should be the order of the day at the Somerset circuit where he can finally make up into the smart handicap chaser he has always promised to be.
Last term the seven-year-old was being targeted at the Kim Muir Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last March but the ground came up soft. He bypassed the race and ended up being disappointingly pulled up in the Bet365 Chase at Sandown.
However, Just A Sting has come back a stronger horse mentally and physically from his summer break and is the relatively unexposed type that the race favours as he could still be very well handicapped.