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Thursday’s Top Angles – Selections Across The Cards

Our expert editor has delved into the entries across Thursday’s meetings and highlighted four interesting angles that could help you get ahead before the weekend action gets underway. Check out their thoughts below, alongside an exclusive customer offer from Sky Bet, who are offering up to £30 In Free Bets, when you sign up and place ANY bet.


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Above Average Newcomer? 

Trainer Kevin Ryan travels all the way down to Yarmouth from his North Yorkshire base on Thursday afternoon with just the sole runner in SUN MAGIC (15:45 Yarmouth). 

James Tate’s Lightning Approach scored comfortably on her debut at Windsor back in May and while many will expect her to follow up here, she could have a difficult task conceding 7lb to Kevin Ryan’s unraced three-year-old, SUN MAGIC. A daughter of Invincible Spirit, she is bred to be fairly useful and is a half-sister to the owners’ three-time winner and Group 1 runner-up Finest Sound. Considering the yard are renowned for sending out its fair share of first-time out winners, it would be no surprise to see Sun Magic show up well on her debut on Thursday afternoon, especially with in-form jockey Andrea Atzeni (6-20 30%) booked to take the ride. 


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Course Specialist – Sound Of Iona 

Jim Goldie’s SOUND OF IONA has a 75% strike rate (3-4) when lining up at Doncaster and bids for a fourth successive victory on Thursday evening (17:55 Doncaster). 

Scottish trainer Jim Goldie celebrated a landmark achievement last month by sending out his 1,000th winner at Ayr. The yard has continued in fine form since, operating at a healthy 18% strike rate in recent weeks. Despite winning just two times last season, SOUND OF IONA has already surpassed that number this term and has seemingly hit a purple patch for connections in her recent starts over the minimum trip.

The six-year-old mare started her winning sequence earlier this month at Ayr, staying on strongly inside the closing stages on that occasion, she defeated an in-form rival in the shape of Mick & David Easterby’s Refuge from a mark of 63. After following up at Doncaster just four days later under a 5lb penalty, Sound Of Iona returned to Town Moor on her most recent start and again displayed a real likeable attitude, swooping late from off the pace to land an apprentice handicap with plenty in hand off 72. Unpenalised for that latest success, Jim Goldie’s mare holds obvious claims in search of the four-timer and although her best form has come over shorter, the six-year-old should get plenty of pace to aim at back at six furlongs and she should take the world of beating once more. 


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Thursday’s Trainer To Follow – Charlie Longsdon 

You would have profited +29.50 to a £1 level stake if you followed Charlie Longsdon’s runners at Worcester this term. The trainer runs two on Thursday afternoon and has a tremendous 50% strike rate (4-8) at the track with his runners this season. 

Oscar Montel (13:35 Worcester, Get Pulling With PJ Nicholls SsangYong Handicap Chase)

The yard will be confident of getting off the mark in Worcester’s second contest courtesy of OSCAR MONTEL, who never seemed to travel with any enthusiasm when finishing a distant fifth at Cartmel on his latest start. However, prior to his lacklustre effort at the Cumbrian track, the eight-year-old had produced a strong staying performance on his penultimate start at Worcester, getting the better of the argument with his five rivals in the closing stages to secure his second career win over course and distance in a first-time visor. 

Rated 115, the eight-year-old remains just 2lb higher than for last month’s course and distance success and with the return to this venue an obvious plus (course form figures of 3-1-2-6-1), it would be no surprise to see Oscar Montel return to winning ways and provide trainer Charlie Longsdon with another victory at Worcester. 


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George Bancroft (15:55 Worcester, Stepway Veterans Charity Handicap Hurdle)

The final runner for the yard comes in Worcester’s penultimate contest where GEORGE BANCROFT will look to return to winning ways following a recent wind operation. 

Formerly trained on the level by Newmarket handler Roger Varian, George Bancroft made the ideal start to life with Charlie Longsdon last season, impressively landing a flat handicap at Ripon in August before making a successful transition to hurdles at the first attempt at Fontwell in October. No match for Harry Fry’s highly regarded juvenile Forever Blessed at Ffos Las on his next start, George Bancroft was unable to make any significant impact when switched to handicaps towards the end of the year, failing to complete in both starts at Market Rasen and Wincanton despite attracting notable market support on both occasions. 

However, despite his form tailing off towards the end of last season, George Bancroft has offered some encouragement in his most recent outings this term. Back on track with a respectable third at Market Rasen three starts ago, Charlie Longsdon’s four-year-old was perhaps unlucky to bump into a well-treated rival at Fontwell when chasing home Joe Tizzard’s hat-trick-seeking Coal Stock on his penultimate outing. 

A line can be drawn through his latest effort back on the level at Nottingham last month, and while he still has some questions to answer back in this sphere, it’s worth noting that George Bancroft’s best efforts over hurdles have come with Jonjo O’Neill Jr in the saddle (only two starts have produced a first and a second) and dropping down into Class 5 company for the first time will also aid his cause on Thursday afternoon. 


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Rare Course Visitor – Scott Dixon 

Nottinghamshire-based trainer Scott Dixon has only previously sent five runners on the 340-mile-round trip to Sandown in the past and travels down to the track with just the sole runner in LIGHT UP OUR STARS (15:35 Sandown) on Thursday afternoon. 

This appears to be a wide-open handicap with plenty of these holding claims in some shape or form and although the likes of Scarlet Dragon and course and distance winner Sweet Reward are entitled to plenty of respect, it’s difficult to ignore the claims of LIGHT UP OUR STARS, who scored decisively on his debut for Scott Dixon at Epsom last month and has proven to be a model of consistency in the majority of his starts on the track. 

Formerly trained by Tony Carroll, the six-year-old enjoyed plenty of success on the all-weather surface last season. Successful twice at Wolverhampton during the winter months, Light Up Our Stars has continued to progress in his subsequent starts this year, finding the frame on several occasions before completing an impressive hat-trick over a mile at Chelmsford just two months ago. 

A solid third a York on his final start for former connections, the Rip Van Winkle gelding was subsequently transferred to Scott Dixon’s yard. Despite previously failing to get his head in front in seven starts on the turf for Tony Carroll, Light Up Our Stars had no such issue on stable debut over ten furlongs at Epsom at the end of June, forging clear inside the final furlong to register his fourth victory from his last five starts off a mark of 70. 

Despite a subsequent 5lb rise in the weights, Scott Dixon’s recent recruit should still have plenty more to offer over this sort of trip and although he tackles some interesting rivals on Thursday afternoon, it would be folly to dismiss his claims given his current form and a follow-up victory could be very much on the cards. 


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