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Matthew Sutcliffe’s Value Punts – Saturday, 30th March

Musselburgh races

With the flat and jumps sharing centre stage in Great Britain on Saturday, Matty Sutcliffe has two value selections in each code from Musselburgh and Haydock.

Published: 4.45pm, Wednesday, 27th March (Odds correct at time of publication)

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2:05 Haydock – Challenger Two Mile Hurdle Series Final Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) (4yo+) – Three Cliffs Bay 40/1 0.5pt EW 3 Places 

Evan Williams’ son of Jukebox Jury’s two poor performances over hurdles came on the right-handed, sharp tracks of Hereford and Chepstow, but his other three saw him take a Ffos Las novice hurdle, finish third to subsequent Albert Bartlett second The Jukebox Man, and latterly finish fourth at Chepstow. That Chepstow effort was perhaps underwhelming, however having initially travelled well into contention, he weakened up the straight after and wasn’t persevered with the race suiting the strong travelling Bubble Dubi from off the pace after the strong early gallop. Not all horses suit the undulating nature of Chepstow, and THREE CLIFFS BAY could easily improve for the flatter, galloping nature of Haydock. 

He’ll sneak into the contest off bottom weight and a mark of 110 should prove lenient in time given his form in Novice Hurdles behind The Jukebox Man, and he had a subsequent 130-rated type behind him at Ffos Las (though he did make an error at the last). The yard are in good form and the forecast will suit him with his best form coming on heavy ground. 

My Pension Expert Challenger Two Mile Hurdle Series Final Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race)

2:25 Musselburgh – Virgin Bet Silver Arrow Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-105) – Love De Vega 9/1 1pt WIN 

Generally speaking, Musselburgh favours those on the front end (just one of the previous six winners of this contest came from rear, though second/third both led) and that will suit the race-fit LOVE DE VEGA, whose yard took this in 2021 with one fit from the all-weather. Though the son of Lope De Vega has a career high mark to contend with, he posted a career best RPR (95) at Chelmsford on his penultimate start off top-weight, comfortably giving 9lbs to the second who won next time out. 

Though he was beaten off this 4lbs higher mark at Newcastle, there’s plausible excuses given he was short of room when mounting a challenge and Billy Loughnane wasn’t overly hard on him in a race which favoured those from midfield, though he responded to a consolation tap of the whip late on which suggested this mark isn’t beyond him. He was a course and distance winner off 8lbs lower last August and he’s a winner on soft ground at Hamilton, so should the ground come up that way then it likely won’t pose an issue for this nippy chestnut sort, with the yard already off the mark for the turf season. 

Virgin Bet Silver Arrow Handicap

2:40 Haydock – Challenger Stayers Hurdle Series Final Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) (4yo+) – Picanha 12/1 1pt EW 3 Places 

PICANHA travelled very smoothly at Newbury last time out in a qualifier for this final, still there two out before weakening behind some well handicapped sorts. He can be forgiven for weakening late on given that came off a 660-day layoff, and if that’s blown any cobwebs off then he’s entitled to take a step forward here. The bounce factor is naturally a concern with such types returning from long layoffs, but he won second time up in 2021 after a 697-day layoff, so perhaps this won’t be a concern for him. The form of that Newbury race worked out well given the second and third finished fifth and second respectively in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham, so a mark of 122 looks workable for this lightly raced ten year old and with a solid amount of pace forecast, he’ll benefit from a waiting ride in rear. 

New Racing TV App Challenger Stayers Hurdle Series Final Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race)

3:00 Musselburgh – Virgin Bet Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+) – Fine Wine 10/1 generally (Bet365 16/1, William Hill 14/1) 1pt EW 3 Places 

The front running FINE WINE was unfavourably birthed in stall ten when favourite for this contest in 2022, beaten a one length third off 2lbs higher, with the winners that day came from stalls 3,3,1,2,5,2,2. Since then, Scott Dixon’s mount improved 17lbs when hitting his peak performance last January, and he’s incredibly well handicapped off a mark of 88. He began the last turf season on a mark of 102, beaten a length at York and was rarely disgraced thereafter. The handicapper has done some kind relenting and he’s ran two good races on the all-weather this year, firstly in Listed company at Southwell (RPR 94) before being beaten three lengths over the stiff five furlongs at Newcastle where his fast early gallop set it up for the favourite Albasheer, who’s notoriously known for requiring a strong gallop. 

Those two efforts suggest he’s lurking on a dangerous mark now, and he’s 11lbs below his last winning mark (though 2lbs above his last winning turf mark). If he’s birthed in a low draw, then his early speed will be a trouble to all on this sharp track and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him go two better than his effort in this race in 2022 for his in-form yard, who had a winner on the turf at Doncaster last Saturday under Kieran O’Neil.

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Matty Sutcliffe’s Value Punts

2:05 Haydock – Challenger Two Mile Hurdle Series Final Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) (4yo+) – Three Cliffs Bay 40/1 0.5pt EW 3 Places 

2:25 Musselburgh – Virgin Bet Silver Arrow Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-105) – Love De Vega 9/1 1pt WIN 

2:40 Haydock – Challenger Stayers Hurdle Series Final Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) (4yo+) – Picanha 12/1 1pt EW 3 Places 

3:00 Musselburgh – Virgin Bet Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+) – Fine Wine 10/1 generally (Bet365 16/1, William Hill 14/1) 1pt EW 3 Places


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