TIME to get into Flat mode following the conclusion of today’s final day of the Cheltenham Festival with eight days until the Winter Derby and 15 to start of the new turf campaign at Doncaster.
There’s still the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter tomorrow (3pm) – for which Synchronised remains our big fancy – but let’s get in the Flat groove with bets on Failasoof (4.40pm) and She Ain’t A Saint (3.30pm) at Lingfield.
It seems pretty daft that the Flat season is only two weeks away and really the Donny curtain-raiser and the Cheltenham Festival could do with being more spaced apart.
Still, it is what it is and Failasoof looks a good bet at Lingfield tomorrow with his trainer Barry Hills looking all set for a typically lightning-quick beginning.
Year after year, the Lambourn trainer seems to have his string well forward when March and April arrive and already this month, from a select few runners on the all-weather his record is two winners from five,
That record is likely to be boosted further tomorrow by Failasoof who has ticks in practically every box you could wish for.
Firstly, this animal made a really eye-catching debut at Kempton last October when sent off at 40-1 but running a very promising third behind Splash Point.
As maidens go, that form is pretty good – good enough to win tomorrow’s race anyway – but Failasoof looks certain to improve masses on his second run with the horse entered in the Derby and costing a massive 650,000 US dollars.
A big strapping colt who looks to have a big future, this does not look a great race and the Hills team will be disappointed if their three-year-old cannot land this with ease before going to bigger and better things.
Let’s hope we get around the even money mark. Being a half-brother to Systematic, big things are also probably expected of the Mark Johnston-trained School For Scandal who bids to follow up his recent maiden victory in the five-runner Lingfield handicap at 3.30pm.
However, while there is no denying the ease of his victory last time, it really was in a desperate affair and again this week the Johnston horses have been a bit in and out.
School For Scandal has also been beaten favourite on the occasions and he might be worth taking on with the Jane Chapple-Hyam-trained She Ain’t A Saint for whom Kieren Fallon is surely a significant booking.
This filly was said to have been working really well before hosing up from a well-fancied horse of Sir Mark Prescott’s last time and she might prove slightly more straight-forward and slightly more progressive than School For Scandal.
Estonia should slow go close in Lingfield’s finale tomorrow under the very capable Luke Morris (5.15pm) while Richard Hannon is another trainer threatening to begin the new season with a bang and might get a win out if Lucky Meadows on her second visit to the racecourse (2.20pm).
She ran a nice first race last time though her tail went round like a windmill which sounds a note of caution.
The Blue Dog, meanwhile, looks the best bet from a poor evening card at Wolverhampton (9.20pm) but so far as the big jumps race of the day goes we’re with the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Synchronised all the way.
Lumping 11st 12lbs around four miles on soft ground, the initial instinct was to find a lighter-weighted horse to beat the likely favourite but go through every runner and there is nothing that stands out.
And, while Synchronised has gone up 9lbs for his Welsh National victory, that wouldn’t have stopped him last time and we have the right man in the saddle in AP McCoy up to try and get him home in front again.
Best of luck with your bets and have a great weekend.