PERUVIAN BLEU has plenty of previous in the 2m Scott & Newman Centenary Amora Handicap Hurdle at Ludlow (3.40), winning the race two years ago and finishing second last year. He clocked a good time when a 12-1 third of 16 in Class 2 company at Haydock last time and drops back down to Class 3 level here. His full course record reads 1113263 (3-7) and his trainer’s five runners in the past fortnight have recorded form figures of 12122 (2-5).
On yesterday’s evidence PRESIDENTIAL (stall 25) could be well drawn in the Tote Victoria Cup at Ascot (4.00) and the five-year-old is worthy of each-way support. He fared best of the high-drawn runners and best of the closers when a 16-1 third at Newmarket on his comeback, taking his record over a straight 7f to 1174133 (3-7), with the sole unplaced effort excusable as he was left with too much to do in a slowly-run race at Leicester. He’d also caught the eye at Doncaster on his final start last year, finishing third of 17 on soft ground and doing best of those to race down the centre (first three drawn 16, 17 and nine).
Kevin O'Malley returns to action in the GG Tips Den on Saturday with betting interest in a quartet of quality races on the flat at Ascot and Lingfield Park...
It will be a real slog at Chester this afternoon so stamina is definitely the order of the day. GG tipster Kevin O'Malley fancies one David O’Meara trained runner to relish conditions and get back to winning ways...
At the backend of last season, AUSTRIAN SCHOOL (stall five of 17) ran some cracking races on tracks that weren’t ideal for his prominent style – finishing second by a head in the Mallard Handicap at Doncaster when the winner, third, fourth, fifth and sixth all came from off the pace and running third in a 1m6f Listed race at Ascot. Stall 14 of 14 made life difficult when he reappeared in the Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh but he still won by six lengths. The handicapper has raised him 8lb to a mark of 110 but he runs off just the 5lb penalty in the Sportpesa Chester Cup Handicap (3.35). His turf record reads 13114422322231 (4-14), suggesting that he’ll be hard to keep out of the frame.
It was very difficult to win from off the pace on the round course at Newbury last month and KALOOR did well to finish a 9-1 third in a soft-ground 1m2f conditions contest on April 12 (the winner and runner-up were in the first two for the majority of the race). Brian Meehan’s son of Nathaniel was a 16-1 good-ground Salisbury winner on his sole juvenile outing and won’t be inconvenienced by the forecast persistent rain in the Group 3 MBNA Chester Vase Stakes (3.35).
Aidan O'Brien has held a vice-like grip on the Chester Vase in the past decade and fields another strong raiding squad as he bids to maintain his early domination of the UK flat season.
GG Tipster Kevin O'Malley returns to Tips Den duty after the Bank Holidays with a trio of selections on the turf at Wetherby this afternoon...
Martyn Meade has a fine record with his first-time blinkered runners, scoring with six of the 16 qualifiers (37.5% strike-rate) for a profit of £25.00 to a £1 level stake at SP. The strike-rate improves to six from 11 for three-year-olds (54.5%, +£30.00) and AIRWAVES fits the bill in the 7f Join Racing TV Now Handicap at Wetherby (4.25).
CROWNTHORPE, best in the spring or autumn with cut in the ground, ran a fine race at Naas on his reappearance, doing best of those drawn high when fifth in the Irish Lincolnshire. Things didn’t go to plan at Ripon next time – he missed the break slightly, the ground was too quick for him and he could only finish fourth of 14 behind impressive scorer New Graduate. Beverley’s Racing TV Handicap (4.50) looks easier, he’s well drawn in stall one and the forecast rain on ground already described as ‘goood, good to soft in places’ is a bonus.
The stalls are in the centre on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket and it will be interesting to see how the field splits in the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes (3.35). Two or even three groups is a possibility, though with so much early pace drawn high they might all stay stands’ side to centre. The GoingStick suggests that the quickest ground (albeit marginally) is down the middle of the track so I’m not unduly worried about stall 10 of 19 for Richard Hannon’s URBAN ICON.
On the round course at Musselburgh yesterday, It was important to challenge against the far side rail, favouring those draw low. STAR SHIELD (stall three of eight) is well berthed in the 7f Calum Logan – Happy 30th Birthday Race Handicap (4.35) and his trainer has won this twice in recent years. He was only seventh at Leicester on last month’s stable debut/reappearance but the time was fast and he should get a good tow into the race courtesy of the front-running pair drawn in stalls one and two.
Day 4 at the 2019 Punchestown Festival is a top class card of National Hunt action and Kevin O'Malley fancies two big names to end their season on a high note.