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Horse racing tips and previews: Saturday's ITV 7 from Newbury and Doncaster


On a bumper day of racing, Tipstrr racing pundit Jake Russell has put together his preferred selections from Newbury and Doncaster to make up his Saturday ITV 7

By @ Jake Russell

1.50pm - Doncaster 

Where better to kickstart the flat season than with the Brocklesby, which is a race full of 2yo debutants, horses that have never been seen on the racecourse in public before. Therefore it does make it quite a tricky task to pick the winner, but usually there are a few quite nice types to come out of the contest in the long run. 

With no form whatsoever to go on, one little thing to look out for is when each horse was foaled, and the earlier in the year the better for me, and given there are quite a few at the top end of the market that were foaled relatively late in March and April, I like one that was an early foal for Darryll Holland at a very decent price at this stage. 

The yard had a very nice 2nd place in this contest two years ago in Primrose Ridge, who was shortly snapped up by Amo Racing after that run, so clearly know how to get a horse ready for the contest. Although Paddy's Courage was not an expensive purchase compared to a few of these, she still has a nice pedigree with a great blend of speed and a little bit of stamina substance to it also. 

Being out of Dark Angel, I would imagine she will be forward enough in her progression for this, and although there are a few horses with a slightly more "attractive" pedigrees, she is an early foal so that could very much count for something, meaning she has progressed enough to run well in this. 

She receives the very valuable fillies’ allowance here on Saturday, and at the prices, given the fact the yard had a decently priced runner-up in this a few years back, she will be the one to side with for me.

  • Selection - Paddy's Courage (16/1)

2.10pm - Newbury  

The Skeltons are flying at the moment and are probably still on cloud nine after a very good Cheltenham Festival last week, with two handicap winners and the Grade 1 Turners Novices Chase with Grey Dawning.

 I think they can continue that decent form with their runner here in the form of Kartoon And Co, who is a very young horse at the age of four, and has only had four runs so far over hurdles. So he will lack the racecourse experience compared to the rest of these, but that also means he is the least exposed sort in the field. 

A winner on debut at Stratford, he was then only a few lengths behind Givemefive who is a very nice type of Harry Derham's, before running well to place in two good contests at Huntingdon and Sandown respectively. 

He gained the opening mark of 109 before his last run at Sandown, and given the fact he finished 2nd and was raised a further 3lb in the weights here, I still think there is plenty of untapped potential there with the more experience he gets under his belt. 

He was always keeping on well as they headed towards the line last time, and given that was over 2 miles, the step up to 2m3f here should bring even more out of this horse. I hope to see him relish the step up in trip and win once again to back up the very creditable efforts he has put in recently.

  • Selection - Kartoon And Co (10/3)

2.25pm - Doncaster  

This looks to be an incredibly difficult handicap to call, and a race I don't really have that much of a real opinion on at this stage. However for the purposes of the ITV7, the one I would side with here is Harswell Duke for Roger Fell and Sean Murray. 

He was a course-distance winner last spring, which was also in pretty testing conditions, so we know he likes the mud to fly, and that does very much suit him. Unlike a few of these at the top end of the market, he has already had the run this season, so is fit and ready to go, and judging by that run at Newcastle just 10 days ago, it very much looked like he did need the run to blow away the cobwebs. 

That would have set him right for this, and now down to a mark of 75 (won the class 2 contest over course and distance last April off the mark of 83) so his new mark does look pretty lenient. He is 8lbs off his last winning mark, and given he will be fit and ready to go for this on Saturday, I think he could be very well in here. 

  • Selection - Harswell Duke (13/2) 

2.40pm -Newbury

This is a really good little contest, with two in-form horses at the head of the market battling it out for the red-hot Skelton team and Kerry Lee, who doesn't have many horses, but does very well with the smaller string she has. 

And it is the Skelton horse that I will be siding with here in the shape of Heltenham. He was a decent enough hurdler without being spectacular, but his bag very much looks to be going over the larger obstacles, as he has run nine times over fences, winning four of them, including a 2-length win over Kandoo Kid last time in the Greatwood Gold Cup over this course and distance in heavy conditions. 

The conditions will be completely different on Saturday as we are expected to have some good-to-soft ground, but that should be no issue for him as he has won on such ground in the past. Although the Skelton charge does have a 6lb higher mark to contend with here, he looks to be full of himself at this moment in time and I can not see anything stopping him from landing back-to-back course-distance wins come Saturday. 

It could be argued that he should be even shorter than he is in the market given the shape he is in at this moment in time. I can't wait to see him back out again for his connections who absolutely adore him.    

  • Selection - Heltenham (15/8)

3.00pm - Doncaster

When it comes to this time of year when we are transitioning from the jumps to the Flat, it always pays to side with horses who have previous winning form fresh. And Charlie Hills's Orazio has some winning form when off the track for an extended period of time, and you could argue might be an early-season horse. 

He was a winner on his racecourse debut at Windsor a few seasons back, and also beat Probe in good-to-soft conditions at Newmarket last April, before then backing that performance up at Ascot when landing a class 3 contest there in softer conditions. 

He was then expected to kick on for the rest of the season, but did not unfortunately, finishing down the field when fancied in the Stewards Cup before then finishing 11th (although only beaten by 3 lengths) at Ayr on his final start of last season. 

He has since been gelded, which could get even more improvement out of him this season, and given he is very lightly raced for his age, we could very much see him improve once again as the season progresses. As mentioned earlier on, he does run very well when fresh, and given he won two races back to back this time last year, I feel he could be one that puts his best foot forward early on in the season. 

We could see him start to go places this season, and that could kickstart by landing this Listed contest at Doncaster on Saturday. This obvious step up in class is not one that he is guaranteed to need here, however I firmly believe he is good enough to land a contest of this nature, before kicking on as the season progresses. 

  • Selection - Orazio (7/2)    

3.15pm - Newbury

We get to see some potentially decent mares battle it out for this Grade 2 contest, and although it might lack a real standout star here, I think Lucinda Russell has a runner in here that is still progressing with each run. 

El Elefante is taking on her own sex, I think she could come good in this company (well I mainly hope so as she was in a horses-to-follow for the season that I did at the start of the 23/24 National Hunt season). She made all in both of her bumper wins, before winning her first hurdle contest in very good fashion. 

Although she has the recent form figures of 545, she was pitched into some very good Graded and Listed company against the boys, but she had her sights lowered last time when winning a mares novices hurdle, sent off the odds-on favourite, she landed the odds by winning pretty comfortably in the end. 

She tackles Graded mares for the first time here, and she does need to show she is up to the Graded level, but her current mark of 122 looks to be fairly lenient, and I think she can defy that mark here. 

She got her head back in front last time at Ayr, which will give her valuable confidence here, and although she has run pretty disappointingly in Graded company previously, she is now pitched against other mares. She is battle hardened and will relish any sort of quick pace here, which we are most likely to get given there are 17 runners ready to line up for the contest.   

  • Selection - El Elefante (9/2)

3.35pm - Doncaster

The first real "big contest" of the new Flat season, a race that many very much look forward to as it really means the transition from jumps to flat is happening. This is once again a red-hot contest with 21 runners expected to head to post on the soft going, which makes for a very competitive contest. 

The consensus is that horses who have had a run recently should go well in this contest, although stats show that recent previous winners haven't had any form of racecourse run in 150+ days, and that fits perfectly for Paul & Olver Cole's Thunder Ball who hasn't been seen on the racecourse in 160 days. 

He ran in some very good contests last season, coming 4th in the Britania only beaten by 3 lengths, going on to Newmarket and coming 6th, only beaten by a little under 4 lengths in the end, before going on to then "win" at Goodwood, but the placings were reversed and he was placed 2nd in the end, with The Gatekeeper awarded the race in the end. 

The Gatekeeper has been picked out by a few in the game this week, and given Thunder Ball has got the better of him already, I can't see that form being reversed at all on Saturday. 

Thunder Ball then ran a very creditable 7th in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket, only beaten by 2 and three quarter lengths, before ending the season with a very nice 3-length win in a class 2 contest at Goodwood. 

Alec Voikhansky takes a very valuable 5lb off here on Saturday, which essentially means he is only 1lb higher than that win at Goodwood to end the season last time. Alec is a young jockey to very much keep an eye on for the turf season ahead, and this is a very good ride for him on Saturday.

We are probably yet to see the best of Thunder Ball, and given some of the contests he was pitched into last season would suggest connections think a lot of this horse. He is the perfect horse to own who could take owners to some very nice days out, and that could start by running well in the Lincoln on Saturday. 

He has been given stall 7 here on Saturday, which is not advantageous for him, given that 13 out of the last 17 winners have been drawn 9 or higher, but he isn't far off those who break and do well in the race, so that should pose no issues.      

  • Selection - Thunder Ball (14/1)


All prices are from Planet Sport Bet and are subject to change

  All previews and tips provided by @ Jake Russell

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