Oliver Holmes brings Best of Bets’ a brand-new weekend tipping column, where he picks four horses from across the racing action each Saturday. Today, he’s going all over the world to bring you four horses, from the four biggest meetings.
14:40 – Newbury – Royale Dance @ 17/2 (Betfair, BetVictor)
This Mares’ Novice Handicap Hurdle is always a tough race to find a winner, but Harry and Dan Skelton are always one to be with for the big races on Saturday. They run Royale Dance, who has never finished outside the top two in her career. The winner of her last race finished second by a head on her next start. She’s only been put up four pounds, and in the context of the race she looks a really good bet at 17/2 with Betfair and BetVictor.
15:00 – Kelso – Bonttay @ 9/4 (BetUK)
Another Mares’ Handicap Hurdle, but it seems a little simpler with Bonttay at the top of the shop. Better ground than soft seems to suit her, as does a two-mile trip. The cheekpieces are on for the first time, to help her jumping. Given that it is a two-mile trip, and given her past and the cheeckpieces now, she should class the field. Give a mention to the trainer Fergal O’Brien who’s had a magnificent season, and does well with first time headgear. The favourite’s best price is 9/4 with BetUk. Walk of No Shame also makes each-way appeal for the O’Neills at 11/1 with BetVictor.
15:25 – Curragh – Comfort Line @ 18/1 (William Hill)
The current ground over in Ireland is soft to heavy, which opens the race wide open. Low draws are favoured over the mile trip at the Curragh. Occupying an inside stall is Comfort Line, running for Adrian McGuinness for the first time. Last season he came second from an extremely high stall off a mark of 84, with a claimer taking 7lbs off. He’s now at a mark of 85, and there’s form for him over soft/heavy ground. It looks like there could be a winner at a price for this year’s renewal and Comfort Line is 18/1 with William Hill. Look out for Current Option and Maud Gonne Spirit for each-way selections.
16:45 – Meydan – Vela Azul @ 11/1 (Boylesports, BetUK)
The Japanese have had a stellar Winter in the big races, notably winning the Saudi Cup with Panthalassa. But it’s Vela Azul, who is the best rated horse in the Dubai World Cup at 122. He came 10th on Christmas Day, losing to the supremely talented Equinox. The drop down in trip should suit him better. But he is a Grade One winner, beating the talked up Shahryar in the Japan Cup last November. Best rated horses are worth a try at a big price, and Vela Azul is 11/1 with BetUK and Boylesports.
I’m also very sweet on another Japanese horse in the feature race in Dubai, Geoglyph. The trend shows that four- and five-year-olds have a very good record in the race, and Geoglyph is the highest rated out of all the younger horses in the race. He came fourth in the Saudi Cup, and didn’t lose by much. His best form comes over 10 furlongs, and beat Equinox last April. He’s drawn right in the middle, so should be an interesting each-way angle at 14/1 generally.