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Sam Martin Sunday Tips 21/2/21

Lostintranslation (Copyright JTW Equine Images)


Newbury’s entire ‘Super Saturday’ card from last week has been rescheduled to this Sunday and it shares the spotlight with Market Rasen on ITV Racing. Over in Ireland, there are three graded races at Navan.

Make sure to check out the And They’re Off! Podcast’s preview of this weekend’s racing. Click here to watch - And They're Off! Racing Podcast Week 16 - YouTube

This weekend, I’m looking at three races from Newbury and one from Navan. Hopefully, I can point you in the way of four winners too!

2:25 Newbury

I’m so delighted to see Terrefort out racing again after a horrible leg injury and eye cancer, which lead to him having one of his eyes removed. His novice chase form was excellent as he won two grade ones. He will most likely need the run after 710 days out. Kalashnikov won a grade one in his novice chase season and, whilst he’s not been in the Winner’s Enclosure since, he was beaten less than two lengths in the Peterborough Chase. His one run over this sort of trip was when seventh behind Main Fact over hurdles. Secret Investor and The Conditional finished eleventh and third respectively in the Ladbrokes Trophy. Secret Investor has a surprisingly high handicap mark and The Conditional never runs a bad race. Cepage is a horse that I’ve always thought a lot of and he manged to win a handicap at Chepstow last time out – it will be interesting to see how he fairs in open company. Clan Des Obeaux and Lostintranslation are at the top of the market. Clan Des Obeaux is my idea of the winner. I don’t think the King George was ran to suit him but he did finish a good third. This is his ‘Gold Cup’ because he won’t be going to Cheltenham. For me, despite being on an equal official rating to Lostintranslation, he is the best horse in the race. Things haven’t been straightforward for Lostintranslation this season – he was third to Bristol De Mai and Clan Des Obeaux at Haydock and pulled up in the King George after bursting a blood vessel. He’s had a wind-op and he had one before the Gold Cup too when he ran incredibly well. I hope he puts in a bold bid and it’s interesting Robbie Power comes over for the ride.

Selection – Clan Des Obeaux (5/6)

3:00 Newbury

The Game Spirit Chase has been in the news lately with Altior pulled from the race and replaced with RSA winner Champ by Nicky Henderson. Champ’s sole start over two miles was in a Southwell bumper in January 2017, which he won, and Nicky believes this will be an easier option for him than the Denman. The race seems to be lacking a pace angle, which will benefit Champ as he won’t have to jump off such a fast pace. Reports from the yard are promising about improvement in his jumping but I think he could be found out in this company if there are any remaining problems. Paul Nicholls’ three runners are likely to dictate the race. Magic Saint could make the running. Dolos was held up when finishing second to Moonlighter at Sandown last time and his stablemate Greaneteen beat Moonlighter a neck in the Haldon Gold Cup. Next time out, Greaneteen couldn’t get close to Politologue at Sandown and, with top weight of 11st6, he will find things difficult, especially as Fanion D’Estruval and Sceaux Royal have just 11st. The latter’s first four starts of the season all come over hurdles and he won the Welsh Champion Hurdle and Elite Hurdle. Last time, he returned to fences and fell at the fifth fence. I’m going to side with Fanion D’Estruval. He began his career in England with a win over course and distance. Earlier in the season, Magic Saint beat him at Cheltenham but he carried less weight than my selection. He fell at three out in the Peterborough Chase and then ran in the Clarence House. He was in the chasing pack behind leaders First Flow and Politologue and he eventually finished fourth, nine lengths behind the winner. I was pleased with that run and I think it should put him spot on for this race.

Selection – Fanion D’Estruval (8/1)

3:25 Navan

This is the less significant of the two grade twos at Navan but it’s the one I have the strongest fancy in. Minella Escape really impressed me at Tramore on New Years’ Day. He jumped well and powered strongly to the line, despite the uphill climb. That was his third start under rules after falling and then coming second over two miles four. He appreciated the step up to two miles five at Tramore and I expect him to relish the three miles here as he is a point-to-point winner. A couple of winners have come out of that race and the three horses who beat him home in his first lifetime point have all won since. Rachel Blackmore is booked to ride. Gordon Elliott’s two runners both have a handicap mark of 128. Since Ragnar Lodbrok’s maiden win, he has been second twice and fifth in class one company. This is a more appropriate grade for him and he’s the pick of Jack Kennedy. Keith Donoghue rides Frontal Assult, who followed in Energumene, Ferny Hollow, Captain Kangaroo and Kilcruit in his bumper days. He manged to win for the first time on his penultimate start and was unplaced at the Dublin Racing Festival two weeks ago.

Selection – Minella Escape (11/8)

Soaring Glory (Copyright JTW Equine Images)

3:35 Newbury

Two horses catch my eye in this extremely competitive, twenty-four runner handicap hurdle. The winner gets just over £70,000 but they have to overcome the busy race conditions. The first horse I want to point out is Soaring Glory. I think this horse is extremely well-handicapped to have a mark of only 133. He beat grade one winner Bravemansgame at Chepstow and then came second to the well-regarded Dusart. He fell when looking like the winner at Wetherby but he returned with a good third in a grade two last time. He’s around favouritism at 11/2 so I’m going to go with For Pleasure. This horse is nicely bred being by Excelebration and out of one-time winner Darsan, who is also the dam of listed winning two-year-old Method. For Pleasure won three races between July and September. He showed his quirky nature next time at Kempton when he was far to over-enthusiastic; wore himself out and then hung left around the home turn, leaving Harry Bannister with no chance of getting them back on course. Last time, Bannister stole a few lengths at the start and For Pleasure never came back to them in grade two company. The ground was heavy but he stayed the trip really strongly. He hung left again and that could be a problem in this big field but I think, from the front, he should run well in this.

Selection – For Pleasure (16/1)

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