A busy Saturday is in store, with five meetings across Britain and Ireland – including the second day of Cheltenham’s Showcase Meeting.
The Cotswolds venue is joined over jumps by Galway and Kelso, with Grand National hero Corach Rambler reappearing at the Scottish venue for trainer Lucinda Russell.
On the flat, Britain’s final Group 1 of the year – the Futurity Trophy Stakes – is at Doncaster after they passed a morning inspection, while evening all-weather action comes from Chelmsford.
We’ve got a trio of Saturday fancies to follow, including one for Jamie and Gary Moore at Cheltenham that may hold higher ambitions in the near future.
13:15 Cheltenham – Haddex Des Obeaux @ 5/2
Day two of Cheltenham’s Showcase Meeting gets underway with a two-mile chase and punters will be hoping for a similar beginning to Friday, when the first three favourites obliged in good style at the Cotswolds layout.
That weight of expectation falls on Haddex Des Obeaux in the opener and Gary Moore’s charge looks up to the challenge.
This contest has been landed by some future top-tier chasers in recent years including Fox Norton, Rouge Vif and Saint Calvados, and Haddex Des Obeaux is by the same sire as the stable’s star chaser Editeur Du Gite. He may well have graded-race ambitions of his own before long.
He was progressive last season as a novice over fences, winning at Doncaster in December and Warwick in January. He hacked up by some 19-lengths in the latter contest and the form now has a very strong look to it with the three that chased him home all next-time-out winners themselves.
A mark of 146 should not prevent more success and his bold jumping and front-running should prove optimal around here.
14:45 Doncaster – Moswaat @ 10/1
Roger Varian’s Moswaat is worth a second look in the Listed Prospect Stakes at Doncaster this afternoon, which is a Betfred Free Bet if 2nd contest.
Favourite Ballymount Boy is on a recovery mission following Group 1 disappointment in France at the start of the month and is a major player if over that/settling better, while David O’Meara’s Esquire has a similar profile to Moswaat but has already finished second in this grade at York.
That pair set the standard, as the market reflects, but Moswaat could have a chunk of improvement in him.
The Kodiac colt was third on debut at Kempton at the start of the month over 6f and then took a step forward when quickening nicely to win a Yarmouth novice (6f, soft) 12 days later.
This demands more but he’s surely got more in his locker and underfoot conditions won’t deter him. He can go well for Ben Curtis.
15:14 Kelso – Caithness @ 7/2
Lucinda Russell has a big day ahead at Kelso as her Grand National hero Corach Rambler appears for the first time since Aintree in the Edinburgh Gin Chase (13:29). He’s one to keep a close eye on there as he starts out on a road that may lead back to Merseyside in April.
Later, the trainer saddles Caithness in the Bill & Irene’s Celebration Handicap Hurdle over two-miles and the gelded son of Dylan Thomas is fancied to oblige.
He showed some promise in three starts last season but was improved on his comeback from 171 days off when winning a maiden over course and distance in September, leaving his rivals strung out in behind.
That was an average race but an opening mark of 112 looks more than fair now, especially with the excellent Patrick Wadge taking 3lb off in the saddle. Caithness is on the Most Napped table via the Betfred Betfinder and can go in against at the Borders track.