Saturday ITV Racing Tips: Best bets for Musselburgh and Newbury

The Greenham Stakes is one of one eight races being shown live on ITV4 this afternoon and we've a tip for each.

Our value picks are listed below and if you're considering a punt or two you might also find Planet Sport's Racing Live Centre a useful resource as it's here you'll find the race cards for Newbury and Musselburgh.

Selections:

Desert Angel (13.32 Musselbugh)

Thunderous (13.50 Newbury)

Marshal Dan (14.04 Musselburgh)

Jumbly (14.25 Newbury)

Makanah (14.39 Musselburgh)

Perfect Power (15.00 Newbury)

Heights Of Abraham each-way (15.14 Musselburgh)

Trais Fluors / Etonian (15.35 Newbury)

13.32 Musselburgh - Desert Angel

A tough start for punters and Desert Angel, who is the only one of the ten runners in this 1m handicap to have raced this calendar year, is just a hopeful choice.

Richard Hannon's three-year-old improved for the addition of blinkers (back on) last season to win back-to-back nurseries, including a class 2 contest over an extended mile at Newmarket in cosy fashion, and ran a sound race when finishing fourth at Wolverhampton 18 days ago.

He's open to further improvement this year from what is a workable mark of 88 and his stable rarely has runners here, striking with three of the six horses to have made the trip up from Newmarket. Paul Mulrennan is booked.

Mark and Charlie Johnston run three with Joe Fanning, the leading jockey here over the past five years, down to ride the stable's Spirit Catcher.

It'll be interesting to see which way he goes in the market in relation to stablemates Qipao, the mount of Ben Curtis, and top weight Value Theory, whose burden is reduced by Andrew Breslin's claim. But all three are conceding race fitness to the selection.

13.50 Newbury - Thunderous

Ilaraab gained a deserved first Group success over this track and trip last October, with the re-opposing Max Vega a length adrift in second, and he should be in for another good season.

However, he's penalised for that success and Thunderous, who is 2lb superior on official ratings and may be capable of rating higher still following a gelding operation over the winter, is preferred.

After an unbeaten juvenile campaign, he won the Grade 2 Dante at York in July (run later than normal due to Covid) only to pick up an injury and rule himself out for the rest of his three-year-old campaign.

Thunderous has been working well ahead of his seasonal return

He returned last season to run some solid races in defeat over this trip of 1m4f, including when fourth behind Wonderful Tonight in the Hardwicke Stakes, and his connections are clearly hopeful of a big run on today's seasonal reappearance.

Harry Herbert, racing manager for owner Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said last month: "He's back. He's gelded, he's had injury issues which has been very frustrating but he's in great shape and working well."

"Having been gelded, he's lighter and seems to be coming to hand earlier than he normally does", he added.

14.04 Musselburgh - Marshal Dan

Another Batt, who finished 11th of the 20 runners in the Lincoln when perhaps in need of the run, and Gobi Sunset, who is fit from the all-weather and goes well for his claiming rider Jonny Peate, head the market for this tricky 7f handicap.

They are plausible winners but preference at bigger odds is for Heather Main's Marshal Dan, whose seven wins on flat turf include one over this track and trip and who only found the well treated Eton College too good in last year's running of his contest.

That run came on his seasonal reappearance, like today, and he's also back on a winnable mark of 86, which is 2lb lower than last year and just 1lb higher than when winning at Sandown last September.

With Ben Curtis booked, he has to go well and his current odds of around 9/1 might not last (well backed 9/2 shot 12 months ago).

14.25 Newbury - Jumbly

Charlie Appleby's Wild Beauty sets the standard in this 7f Group 3 contest for fillies on her Grade 1 success in Canada last season, but that was over a mile and she proved one-paced when finishing fifth in the Group 1 Fillies' Mile on her final start as a juvenile.

She might stay 1m2f this season and while her stable is in cracking form (9-18 in the last fortnight), the gut feeling is that she might prove vulnerable to a rival with a bit more toe on her return to action.

Such a filly might be Jumbly, who represents the new training team of Harry and Roger Charlton, fresh from a couple of winners in midweek, with the market likely to prove the best guide to her fitness first time up.

Like a few of these she holds a 1000 Guineas entry and she'd stay a mile no problem on breeding, but the speed she showed when scorching to success in a 7f fillies' Listed contest over this track in trip last October in a good time (faster than the Horris Hill for colts on the same card), might prove decisive this afternoon.

14.39 Musselburgh - Makanah

Mick Appleby's Raasel heads the betting for this 5f handicap having won six on the bounce last season, all over the minimum and on ground no faster than good, so he'll handle the forecast good to soft.

However, he does have a career-high mark to overcome and we're also having to take his fitness on trust, so it could pay to look elsewhere for some value.

Julie Camacho's Makanah provides that on his return to action as he goes well fresh, winning first time out in both the 2019 and 2020 seasons, and there's something about this track that brings out the best in him.

He beat the 105-rated Danzeno (getting 8lb) when winning a conditions race here in October 2020 and both his visits last season resulted in narrow defeats, with his form figures here now reading 1123.

He starts this campaign on a mark of 97, having been as high as 104, and Paul Mulrennan, who has been on board for four of his six wins on turf, is booked to do the steering.

UPDATE: the selection was a double-figure price while writing this but has been smashed into favouritism.

15.00 Newbury (Greenham Stakes) - Perfect Power

Christophe Soumillon is being reunited with Richard Fahey's Perfect Power, whom he steered to back-to-back Group 1 victories last season, and the partnership is hard to resist in this 7f Group 3 contest, for which he escapes a penalty.

Today's outcome will determine whether the talented son of Ardad takes his chance in next month's 2000 Guineas and he does he have to prove his stamina here on first try beyond 6f, but his style of running and breeding (out of a mare show stayed 1m2f) suggest he will relish the step up.

His stable has made a quiet start to the season but three winners at good prices in the last three days help alleviate any concerns over that and he won't mind the drying ground one bit, unlike his main market rival Angel Bleu who would have preferred a bit more cut.

15.14 Musselbugh - Heights Of Abraham each-way

Emmet Mullins' Zero Ten has been all the rage since betting opened for a race his Grand National-winning trainer has almost certainly targeted him at for a good while.

Last seen out in a French Group 1 in October, he could easily outclass a field of largely exposed handicappers under talented claimer Benoit De La Sayette, who reduces his burden by 7lb.

However, he's hardly value at the current odds and one who might give him a run for his money is Keith Dalgleish's Heights Of Abraham, who has been gelded since finishing fourth in a 1m4f handicap here last June after meeting trouble in running.

While this is another step up in trip for him, he shapes as if he'll thrive as a stayer this season and given he's a double-figure price currently, we don't have to have much on to find out.

15.35 Newbury - Trais Fluors / Etonian

Saleymm almost made all in last month's Lincoln Handicap, in which he collared late on by Johan, and he's an obvious type for this latest renewal of the Spring Cup, although he did enjoy the run of the race at Doncaster and the two horses that finished behind him renew rivalry on slightly better terms.

Rogue Bear, the third horse home, did best of those who raced more stands' side (stall 19) and he was hampered at the start to boot, so it's easy to see why he's just preferred in the betting.

He's got a favourite's chance and it's worth noting the first three home last year were priced at 4/1, 9/2 and 7/2.

But the temptation is to find one with a decent each-way shout at a bigger price and Mick Channon's Trais Fluors would be just about the best handicapped runner in the field, having been dropped to a mark of 88, which is 4lb lower than his last winning mark.

He was rated in the 100s when first coming over from France, where he won four times on turf, and while perhaps not the force old at the age of eight he's a bang-miler who will appreciate the drying ground and is being reunited with Silvestre de Sousa, who steered him to success at Sandown last June.

Richard Hannon sent out Nugget to score 12 months ago and one-time Classic hope Etonian looks his best chance of back-to-back wins from four stable runners.

He won his first two races as a juvenile, including a Group 3 at Sandown, before disappointing on soft ground in the Dewhurst Stakes, and was restricted to just one run last term when finishing a well beaten sixth in the bet365 Classic Trial.

He has clearly had his problems since but has been kept in training for a reason and the high-cruising speed and turn of foot he displayed at two are a potent combination in races of this nature. His sire Olympic Glory won the 2013 Greenham here.

The suggestion is to split stakes each-way on the two selections and combine them in a combination forecast with Rogue Bear, in the hope of landing a bigger payout.

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