Saturday Newbury top racing tip: Shanty Alley marked for return to form

Tipstrr's horse racing expert Steve Jones has been busy studying another busy Saturday racecard, and and has dropped on a nicely handicapped proven stayer as his best value bet of the day.

Now that Shanty Alley is back in form, he appears to be very well handicapped, so it shouldn't be long before he takes advantage of his current mark of 125, which is seven pounds below the mark he was racing off just two completed starts ago. 

His career-best performance came early last year under a set of conditions almost identical to those he will face on Saturday, making virtually all the running before galloping clear to win by an emphatic 11-length margin, with the rest of his ten rivals strung out a further 18 lengths behind.

Unsurprisingly, following his wide-margin success, Shanty Alley's mark was hit with a hefty 13lbs rise, but that didn't stop him from finishing second of 14 off his newly-revised mark, despite more testing heavy ground over 25 furlongs round Wincanton's tighter circuit.

14:25 (Newbury) Shanty Alley

The only one to beat him at Wincanton was another highly-progressive staying handicapper, Time To Get Up, who promptly followed up by winning the Listed Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter on his next run.

Clearly, Shanty Alley was unfortunate to bump into that progressive winner, but he beat the rest of that 14-runner field off a mark that was 5lbs higher than he has for this event.

On his next run the following month, he finished third of nine in a higher-graded Class 2 handicap over 3 miles at Uttoxeter, and that was off an even higher mark of 132 (seven pounds higher than today).

That Uttoxeter run, which came in March last year, was his last completed start prior to his recent run at Wetherby early this month, in which he finished a close-up runner-up of seven over three miles of soft ground.

His Wetherby run came on the back of a 265-day break, which obviously did him a lot of good after three incomplete starts, and he can be expected to come on again for the return to action.

The only one to beat him at Wetherby, Burrows Diamond, has since finished runner-up off seven pounds higher and the front pair pulled a long way clear of the rest.

On the back of that run, and now returning to a combination of conditions which produced his career-best performance only four completed starts ago, Shanty Alley looks set for a big run off his current attractive mark, especially with Conor O'Farrell again in the saddle and likely to give him another bold, prominent ride.

  • Next best: Grumpy Charley

Of the others, Grumpy Charley might go well back at his last winning track, where he clinched a Class 3 handicap by more than three lengths from Fern Hill, who won another Class 3 equally easily just last month.

On his next run following that last win, Grumpy Charley ran third here behind the recent King George hero, Bravemansgame, and although he has further to go on Saturday, he is set to improve under eight pounds lower on a track he loves with a favourable bit of cut in the ground.

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