Thursday Preview – Miss Estela Can Bring Down The House

Miss Estela has been a beaten favourite on both starts over hurdles so far, but her fifth, beaten 11 lengths, behind subsequent Grade 2 winner Bitofapuzzle in a Listed mares’ ‘bumper’ at Cheltenham in November is strong form and she can get off the mark over obstacles in the Download The Winner.co.uk App Now “Hands And Heels” Handicap (2.00) at Carlisle on Thursday.

The daughter of Tobougg appeared not quite to get home over 2 miles 5½ furlongs at Huntingdon in January, but her previous form over 2 miles 3 furlongs, on soft going, at Exeter suggests that an extra half a furlong should be no problem. The winner at Exeter, Queen Of The Stage, was only beaten 5¼ lengths in a Listed mares’ contest at Sandown three weeks ago and is now officially rated 127. Miss Estela only went down by three-quarters of a length on that occasion, conceding 1lb so, off a handicap mark of just 109, she looks remarkably well treated for her handicap debut.

Trainer Warren Greatrex describes her as ‘a really exciting mare’ and she has the assistance of the most successful conditional jockey in the field, Conor Walsh, who’s ridden winners on both sides of the Irish Sea, so she looks one to be on at any price you can get.

Selection: Carlisle 2.00 Miss Estela to win

Monday Preview – Love Is In The Air

It’s fair to say that Monday’s cards at Ayr, Plumpton (which must survive a morning inspection) and Wolverhampton are less than awe-inspiring, but a winner never stops trying, as they say, and we have a selection that we believe could go well at rewarding odds.

In the Coral Casino Handicap (4.30) at Wolverhampton, Greeleys Love has been campaigned over a variety of distances since joining Luke Dace from Mark Johnston in September. However, the son of Mr Greeley has run creditably in defeat on all three starts on Tapeta and appears well-handicapped for a belated return to the winners’ enclosure.

In fact, the 5-year-old has won just once – over 7 furlongs at Thirsk as a juvenile – but his latest effort, when splitting Monsieur Chevalier and subsequent winner City Of Angkor Wat over 1 mile 1½ furlongs here last month, seemed to suggest his turn wasn’t far away. He steps back up to 1 mile 4 furlongs and 50 yards, but he ran well over a similar distance at Lingfield in November and the extra yardage could be just what he needs at this stage of his career.

Tizlove Regardless is the only confirmed front-runner in the race, so the possibility of a muddling pace is a problem and, of course, backing a horse who’s currently on a losing run of nineteen isn’t advisable too often. Nevertheless, if he’s ever going to win again, today could be the day and he can become Tom Marquand’s first winner for the yard.

Selection: Wolverhampton 4.30 Greeleys Love to win

Tuesday Preview – Dusky Lark Has Bright Chance

The Bathwick Tyres Handicap Hurdle (3.45) at Taunton on Tuesday is a trappy looking affair, despite just seven runners, but Colin Tizzard’s 5-year-old Dusky Lark may be capable of upsetting some better fancied rivals. The Nayef gelding had his limitations exposed when only fifth of seven, beaten 45 lengths, behind Supreme Novices’ Hurdle hopeful Jollyallan at Kempton on Boxing Day, but returned to winning ways over course and distance twelve days ago.

He steps back up in class off an 8lb higher mark, but has been quietly progressive since joining Colin Tizzard from Hughie Morrison in October and, with conditions once again in his favour, may prove equal to the task.

Top weight Dell’ Arca won on his British debut at Cheltenham at the start of the 2013/14 season, but has failed to add to his winning tally in nine starts since, despite going close on more than one occasion. David Pipe’s 6-year-old was just touched off, in this grade, at Cheltenham last month, but is 3lb higher in the weights this time and may be worth taking on at a short price.

With similar doubts about Ibis Du Rheu, who was well beaten on his British debut, albeit at Grade 2 level, and Tornado In Milan, who steps up in class off a 16lb higher mark after an easy course and distance win three weeks ago, Dusky Lark could represent a shade of value at 8/1 with Bet365 or Sky Bet in the early price lists.

Selection: Taunton 3.45 Dusky Lark to win (8/1 with Bet365 or Sky Bet)

Community Focus

I’ve finally decided to pull my finger out. horseracingtips.org is a great domain but with other commitments and sites to juggle, it’s been a matter of getting around to this item on the to-do list. At present I’m still musing over how best to move forward with the site, though I’d like it to have more of a community focus than others.  There’s a real thriving community of great horse racing blogs, both from the UK and abroad and I’m thinking of approaching some of my favourites for contributions. It would be great to create a hub of sorts, highlighting the best of the best of tipsters and tips within the online racing blogs community.

Stay tuned!