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Ginger Joe - A Lucky 31 For Saturday 23 March 2024

Publish Date: 22/03/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland
Key Points
  • A Lucky 31 for Saturday at Newbury and Doncaster
  • William Hill free bet offer - get ready for the Lincoln Handicap weekend
  • My horses to follow on the Flat series coming soon

A Lucky 31 to kick off your weekend in style

As I mentioned yesterday, I have a Lucky 31 ready and waiting for you to get stuck into. I’ve got four selections from the Jumps card at Newbury, plus my pick from the first big Flat race of the season, which is of course the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster. The field is 20 runners deep, and there are plenty with chances, but I've spotted a standout for this year’s renewal.

Before we get onto my selections, I just want to let you know that I’ll be putting up some horses to follow for the Flat season very soon. Stay tuned for when I reveal all of my hidden gems for the season ahead.

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14:10 Newbury - The BetVictor Novices’ Handicap Hurdle 2m 2f - Into The Park

First up for my Saturday Lucky 31 comes in the Betvictor Novices Hurdle and this is going to be a very competitive race. One at a double-figure price that has a chance is The Good Doctor, for Ben Pauling, who won by eight lengths on his penultimate start, then ran a really good race under a big penalty to finish second last time out. This is a deep race, but he will be much more at ease and better handicapped this time around and he won't be far away at a big price.

Kartoon And Co, running for Dan Skelton, is another to consider, but personally, I don’t think he is the strongest finisher. That said, you do have to respect Skelton's form at the minute, so he’s likely to be in the shake up. The one for me though is the Phillip Hobbs trained Into The Park who is a well-bred gelding and I think this race will set up perfectly for him. There doesn’t look like there is going to be too much pace on and he is used to being held up, so it’s a fair bet that those tactics will be applied again. I think he will move through this field and just pick them off one by one before finishing strongly. He ticks all the boxes and he has a very good chance here.

14:40 Newbury - The BetVictor Handicap Chase 2m 4f - Gunsight Ridge

Next comes the Handicap Chase, where Heltenham heads the betting for the Skelton team. There’s no denying that he deserves to be in the mix as a dual course and distance winner, but he does need everything to drop right for him. I think the one to side with here is Gunsight Ridge for Olly Murphy. He fell on his seasonal debut, but then ran a very good race behind a well-handicapped Skelton horse next time out at Sandown, and he looks like a horse that is just coming to the boil. He has good form in the book and actually remains unexposed over this extended trip. Olly Murphy and Sean Bowen are in fine form at the minute too, so I think Gunsight Ridge is a decent bet.

15:15 Newbury - The Mares’ Novice Hurdle 2m 4f - Party Vibes

The Mares Novice Hurdle looks to be a fascinating contest and there's a nice bunch in the line up here. Larchmont Lass is on an upward curve and seemingly one that is improving a little ahead of her mark. She should go well enough here, but I would like to see her jump better before backing her with any conviction. I think we may see better of El Elefante this time out, she’s not lacking potential, but she will still need to take another step forward to compete here.

My pick here though is Party Vibes, who is a cracking sort and obviously one of the more talented mares in this field. She takes some winding up and often needs pushing along early on in her races, but she is invariably well in command at the finishing line.  I believe this step up in trip is highly likely to bring out more in her, and now is the time to pounce, while she’s still very much on an upward curve.

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17:00 Newbury - The Veterans’ Handicap Chase 3m - Demachine

My final selection at Newbury runs in the Veterans Chase and I have always been a huge fan of these races. A bit sentimental maybe, but they always bring back great memories and you see plenty of Veterans that are still able to show their old spark. Fortescue has seen plenty of interest with Harry Cobden on board, and he will probably get a good tune out of this Henry Daly charge, but he's too far on the short side of the market. Run To Milan should have a good shout on form, but he prefers to run the other way round, so I’m ruling him out too for this one.

That leaves me with the easy choice of Demachine for Kerry Lee. Kerry is fantastic when it comes to Staying Chasers and Demachine is relatively unexposed over this trip too. He has only had one start this season, and has been given a few months off in preparation for this race, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this fella put on a huge performance in this race. Although this is his first attempt in a Veterans’ I’m certain he has plenty to offer here and he’s well worth a second look.

15:35 Doncaster - The William Hill Lincoln Handicap 1m - Chazzesmee

The 20 runner Lincoln looks as competitive as ever and I actually like a couple in this race. Vetiver is the first of those, and she has already won three of her seven starts for Andrew Balding. Although she’s likely to be ahead of the handicapper, I do wonder if she is experienced enough to win a race like this. She is at a very appealing double-figure price, but in my opinion, she’ll need all of the right breaks to win here. Johaan won this in 2022 and I actually remember putting him up that day, but he is short enough for the race this year.

That makes it hard for me to get away from the Fozzy Stack runner, Chazzesmee. He won the Irish Lincoln on Monday, and sets a very high standard here based on that run. Although this is a quick turnaround, he found plenty when asked the question last time out and still looks very well-handicapped. He has been subject to a gamble since that win, so his price may have gone somewhat, but he is clearly on a roll and I see him as the likeliest winner here.

My Lucky 31 selections for Saturday

  • 14:10 Newbury - Into The Park
  • 14:40 Newbury - Gunsight Ridge
  • 15:15 Newbury - Party Vibes
  • 17:00 Newbury - De Machine
  • 15:35 Doncaster - Chazzesmee

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