Saturday ITV Racing Tips: Best bets for Ayr and Newbury

The Scottish Grand National is one of eight races being shown live on ITV and we've a tip for each.

We've listed our selections below, with the reasons behind them further down the page, while the highly informative race cards for Ayr and Newbury can be found in Planet Sport's Racing Live Centre.


Malystic (13.15 Ayr)

Mot A Mot each-way (13.35 Newbury)

The Golden Rebel (13.50 Ayr)

Bermeo (14.10 Newbury)

Barrichello each-way (14.25 Ayr)

Runwiththetide each-way (14.45 Newbury)

Il Ridoto (15.00 Ayr)

Jersey Bean each-way (15.35 Ayr)

13.15 Ayr - Malystic

Forecast favourite Sebastapol was getting off the mark over fences at the sixth attempt at Kempton last month and he's a shortish price to follow-up this afternoon, but an 8lb higher mark and the fact he's ground dependant - he won't go at all if there's any give underfoot - make him opposable.

Instead, we'll take a chance of Peter Niven's Malystic returning to the sort of form he showed as a novice last season, winning twice at around 2m and running creditable races in defeat when second to Protektorat at Carlisle and chasing home Allmankind at last year's Scottish National meeting when trying 2m4f for the first time.

While he was beaten a long way on the latter occasion, he still going well at the top of the straight and looking a real threat, only to weaken quickly once Brian Hughes (back on board) asked him more and not appearing to see out the longer trip.

So the drop back to 2m this afternoon is very much in the favour of this strong travelling sort, who was still in contention when unseating his rider on his seasonal reappearance at Doncaster last month, and on his second run back from a wind operation.

13.35 Newbury - Mot A Mot each-way

Punctuation, who is vying for favouritism at the time of writing, is clearly on an upward curve having won both his starts for Fergal O'Brien and since being fitted with a tongue-tie, but he has a soft-ground action and the weather forecast is not encouraging for that.

Plenty of others can be given a chance and they include Mot A Mot, who is debuting for Sam Thomas having been switched from Nicky Henderson, who trained him to win a bumper and an ordinary 2m novice at Worcester last November, where he gamely held off the now 137-rated Anyharminasking.

He could only finish sixth of the seven runners in a Cheltenham Listed contest won by Hillcrest when last seen out in Janaury, but he's had a wind operation since then and is also being fitted with a tongue-tie for his first venture into handicap company off what could prove a very generous mark of 114.

He does have an absence of 91 days to overcome but he's won after a break before and Charlie Deutsch, who is 5-22 (23%) on the stable runners in the current season, is taking the reigns for the first time.

13.50 Ayr - The Golden Rebel

Nicky Henderson's Dusart had his limitations exposed when finishing a well beaten fifth in the Grade 1 novice won by L'Homme Presse at last month's Cheltenham Festival and, while this is an easier task, he's opposable off top weight at shortish odds.

Previously, he'd beaten a total of five rivals in novice events at Leicester and Exeter and the horse he beat by five lengths at the former track, Sail Away (NON-RUNNER), is weighted to turn the tables this afternoon.

Dan Skelton's charge only gave way to the winner from the last at the Midlands track on what was his first start back from wind surgery, while his debut effort over British fences at Aintree in October, when chasing home subsequent Festival winner Corach Rambler, also suggests he's capable of winning in this sphere off his current mark (135).

That run proved he acts on good ground and his trainer, who is still very much in the title race, will have likely saved him with a spring campaign in mind, so a big run can be expected at decent odds.

UPDATE - With Sail Away being declared a non-runner on the eve of the race, we'll jump ship (poor pun) to The Golden Rebel, who was still going well in front when falling at Doncaster in January and was an easy winner over 2m4f at the same track previously, giving the impression he'd stay this far.

14.10 Newbury - Bermeo

La Cavsa Nostra was a gutsy winner at Hereford last time and has very few miles on the clock for a horse that qualifies for veterans' races, so he deserves to be amongst the favourites with cheekpieces being fitted for the first time.

But this fragile type will do well to give over a stone to Bermeo if that horse can rediscover his best form, having been switched to Harry Fry since finishing a remote fourth at Doncaster in December behind another of today's runners, Indy Five.

He's much better than that having won six times over fences in a long career and you don't have to go too far back for one of his best efforts, that being a solid third in a good quality Cheltenham handicap just over a year ago now.

That run was on good ground, which suits him ideally, and he's a strong stayer at this trip, having won over further, while his ability to pull out a couple of good jumps when needed is another asset he has on his side.

He's owned by Manhole Covers Ltd and could sink without a trace if the change of scenery hasn't done him any good - so best keep stakes small - but we're happy to take a chance on him at decent odds with his new yard in flying form (7-17, 41%, in the last fortnight).

Harry Fry can't stop training winners and Bermeo might be another for him

14.25 Ayr - Barrichello each-way

Greatwood Hurdle winner West Cork ran a fine fourth of the 26 runners in last month's County Hurdle and must go close in this limited handicap if those exertions haven't taken too much out of him, while last year's winner Milkwood won't go down without a fight given his record fresh (off since October), for all he's 9lb higher than 12 months ago.

But they're both conceding plenty of weight to improving novice Barrichello, who has improved no end for a wind operation and whose only defeat in five runs over hurdles this season came at Bangor in December, when whipping round at the start and giving his rivals a 20 lengths head start.

He got firmly back on track when beating subsequent easy Ascot winner Good Risk At All at Warwick in January and was hardly out of second gear when winning eased down on his most recent outing at Newcastle, where he again impressed with his fast and accurate jumping.

That wouldn't have taken anything out of him and this once frustrating sort - he finished second five times last season when his breathing was an issue - is well worth backing now he has found the winning habit for the bang-in-form Donald McCain, who last won this with Overturn in 2010, and with Brian Hughes in the plate.

Trainer Donald McCain has a live Scottish Champion Hurdle hope in Barrichello

14.45 Newbury - Runwiththetide each-way

This Grade 2 Mares' Novice Hurdle Final, run over an extended 2m4f, has attracted a field of 16 and looks ripe for an each-bet at decent odds, with the market principles having done most of their winning on softer ground and having their share of weight.

Dan Skelton's Runwiththetide has yet to get her head in front after four attempts over hurdles, getting closest when second on her British/stable debut at Chepstow in October behind the re-opposing Nina The Terrier, whom she meets on much better terms.

She wasn't beaten far into fifth when making her handicap bow in a competitive mares' race at Ludlow in December, when doing her best work late on, and the handicapper has dropped her 4lb for that effort.

Her current mark of 106 surely underestimates here true ability and the prospect of a fast-run race will play to her strengths, while it's also worth noting that she won the second of her points' starts in Ireland on good ground.

At double-figure odds, she's worth a roll of the dice.

15.00 Ayr - Il Ridoto

Minella Drama is clearly a talented novice, as he showed when winning a Grade 2 at Haydock in January, for which he's penalised, and his subsequent fourth at Sandown in another Grade 2 won Pic D'Orhy wasn't a bad effort by any means.

They're hard to split but for the winner we like the look of Paul Nicholls' Il Ridoto, who was taken off his feet early in last month's Grand Annual before making ground and looking a threat going to the third-last, only to flatten out when asked for his effort.

A good winner of a 2m handicap at Newbury in November, when they went hard early and brought his stamina into play, he should appreciate today's longer trip against fellow novices, and he's always impressed with his jumping having had plenty of experience in France.

15.35 Ayr (Scottish Grand National) - Jersey Bean each-way

A typically competitive renewal of the Scottish National albeit it lacks a class horse or two with the top weight, Christian Williams' Kitty's Light, the winner of last year's bet365 Gold Cup, being rated 143.

The six-year-old arrives here in grand form having chased home stablemate Cap Du Nord in the Coral Trophy (formerly Racing Post Chase) at Kempton and he's a perfectly plausible winner, for all he's 8lb higher than when successful at Sandown.

He'll be hard to kick out of the frame, as will another stablemate in Win My Wings, who is on a hat-trick after wins Exeter and in Newcastle's Eider Chase, which confirmed her stamina for this marathon trip of 4m.

The cheekpieces she wore on that occasion helped her travel much better and providing they work again - no given of course - she must go well under her amateur partner. Jack Tudor, assuming he had the choice, prefers Kitty's Light.

Major Dundee is another improving sort, although we're having to take his stamina on trust, and the same comment applies to Irish raider Stormy Judge, who didn't look an out-an-out stayer when fading over 3m at Naas 20 days ago.

There has to be some value further down the betting list and one that stood out is the Oliver Sherwood-trained Jersey Bean, who looked to have all the right credentials for this race when winning over an extended 3m4f at Haydock in November on good to soft.

That's the current going description and he won't mind if the ground dries out further as he's a genuine top-of-the-ground horse, as he showed when winning on such a surface at Cheltenham last April, keeping on gamely to score off top weight on that occasion under today's pilot Brendan Powell.

What's more to like him is his attitude as he looked beat when headed at the last in the Haydock race, only to rally on the run-in to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, and once again under a big weight (he carries 11st 5lb this afternoon).

He's now won eight of his 24 starts under Rules, and four of his eight chases since being fitted with blinkers, and that he has been off since November is no real concern as he's gone well fresh in the past. He's clearly been trained with this race in mind.

All in all, he has a solid each-way chance.

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