As the jumps season swings into action proper, GG’s new signing, Search For a Tipster winner Karl Hedley, pinpoints the best bets to be found in his new weekly ante-post column, which aims to highlight the best bets for the coming weekend
If You Say Run has a lot going for her particularly as she is a previous course winner, has won at the trip and on the likely good-to-soft ground. Unlike many of her stablemates, she was capable of winning on her first outing of the campaign when beating Love Lane by a comfortable six lengths. She will only have improved for that run and this consistent mare has the ability of adding to that here.
Reserve Tank was slightly disappointing on his seasonal reappearance. Far too keen for his own good at Chepstow, Colin Tizzard will need to have ironed out the quirks that appeared all too obvious on that occasion. Paul Nicholls ought to have a good line to that form through Posh Trish who finished last of the three runners in that Chepstow race. In what is her trainers' local track, it wouldn’t be the biggest shock if she were to outperform her male counterparts.
Royal Village holds an entry at the five-day stage and he does tick many boxes. Proven in the grade, the trip he looks capable of going close on the forecast going. He ran a decent third to Copper West a couple of weeks ago and should that rival line up here, the weights ought to be a bit closer and he could be capable of reversing the placings. The front three pulled some eleven lengths clear of Mellow Ben in that last race and the form could work out well as the season progresses.
Duke Street has won his last three races and comes here in tip-top shape. Dr Newland places his runners to fantastic effect but this further step up in grade may prove one too far. Cepage was last seen running in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham last December and if he returns to action here, he is a lively contender. Venetia Williams is enjoying a great start to the season and he is worthy of a second look.
PRESENT MAN (3.35 Wincanton, Saturday)
Present Man has recorded back-to-back wins in this race and now comes in search of the hat-trick. He recorded only one win all of last season but most importantly it was first time out in this race. Although most of Paul Nicholls’ runners have looked to have needed their first run of the campaign, you should bear in mind that he will have been specifically primed for this race and despite a 4lb higher mark this time around, his experience around here will make him the one they all have to beat.
Should Present Man fail to live up to expectations, you would expect Calipto to be waiting in the wings. He is one from one at the track, acts on good to soft, is proven at the trip and has won at this level. As previously mentioned Venetia Williams is firing on all cylinders at the moment and he too has to be on any shortlist.
WEEKEND BEST BETS
IF YOU SAY RUN (2.25 Wincanton) (11/2 Ladbrokes)
ROYAL VILLAGE (2.40 Aintree) (9/1 Bet365)
PRESENT MAN (3.35 Wincanton) (7/1 Bet365)