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Ginger Joe - A Lucky 31 to Celebrate Easter 2024

Publish Date: 29/03/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland
Key Points
  • Betting tips for a winning Easter weekend
  • A mix and match Lucky 31 for you to get stuck into
  • My final Lucky 31 pick runs in the Irish Grand National on Monday

An Easter weekend Lucky 31 for you

To celebrate Easter 2024, I have a Lucky 31 ready for you to get stuck into. There’s some fantastic Jumps and Flat action coming up this weekend and it was tough to decide on just five worthy runners. Anyway, after much puzzling, I’ve decided on two from Musselburgh and one each from Haydock and Fairyhouse from Saturday’s cards, with the final leg of my Lucky 31 running on Monday in the Irish Grand National, so let’s hope we can land ourselves a few weekend winners.

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14:40 Haydock - Handicap Hurdle 3m - Doughmore Bay

This three-mile Handicap Hurdle is a really open contest, but the first two in the market hold obvious winning potential. Astronomic View is just about the favourite here and never does much wrong in his races. He won at Warwick last time out, which looked to be a personal best, and he looks like he will be hard to beat again here. Shoeshine Boy is another coming into this race in solid form, having won his last two starts, but despite him having a good chance on paper, he isn’t exactly the most versatile when it comes to tactics and will need everything to drop just right for him to perform at his best..

I rather like the look of Emma Lavelle’s Doughmore Bay, who looks open to plenty and runs off a decent mark.. He won his debut Bumper and then ran well to finish second under a penalty next time out. After that, he was literally chucked in at the deep end at Cheltenham, where he made his Hurdles debut, but found the quick step up to Grade A a bit too much. Back in a smaller field next time out he was much more comfortable and did his best work late on in the race. That suggests to me he is still open to plenty of improvement and I think he is Handicapped to win here.

15:00 Musselburgh - The Sprint Cup Handicap 5f - Silky Wilkie

I think I have found one in the Sprint Handicap that’s as close to a banker as you’ll get. At the top of the market we’ve got Vintage Clarets, who is a really nice horse and finished second in this race last year, so his chances are fairly obvious on paper. But off his current mark, he would need to pull off a personal best to win here, so I think he is worth taking on.

For me, the clear winner here is Silky Wilkie. Not only did he win this race last year, he beat Vintage Clarets by over four lengths, whilst giving him 8lbs. And this year they run off level weights, so it looks like a foregone conclusion to me. Silky Wilkie is incredibly well-Handicapped here and he also has a very valuable 7lb claimer on board tomorrow. I genuinely cannot see him getting beaten here.

15:35 Musselburgh - The Queen's Cup Handicap 1m 2f - Sweet Fantasy

This year’s Queen's Cup is a deeply competitive race, but I think there is one that stands out from the rest of the field. Chillingham has an obvious chance, but he is often far too keen and doesn’t win as much as he should. That said, he’s not short of ability and if he settles straight out of the gate he has a big shout at the finish. However, the one I’ll be backing here is James Owen’s Sweet Fantasy.

She showed some good form before her switch to the Owen stable, and has won both of her starts over Hurdles for new connections. Sweet Fantasy is Wootton Bassett-bred, so she has a fair amount of ability and with her speed, the drop back to a Flat Handicap is a good call, taking account of the current ground conditions. There looks to be a fair bit of pace in this race, which will suit her perfectly, and I think she will be too strong at the finish for anything to catch her.

17:40 Fairyhouse - The Mares’ Bumper 2m - Barnahash Primrose

The Mares Bumper is the final race at Fairyhouse on Saturday and I really am a big fan of Barnahash Primrose for Jonathan Sweeney. I think she is a very nice mare, and one to keep on side, as it’s looking likely that she’ll be up to Graded company next season. She ran a lovely race at the Dublin Racing Festival on very deep ground and should appreciate the slightly faster surface here. She is a decent traveller and the form of her DRF run sets a pretty high standard. So, despite the presence of the promising Flashaway, running for Willie Mullins, Barnahash Primrose looks to be the one to beat here.

17:00 Fairyhouse (Monday) - The Irish Grand National 3m 5f - Nick Rockett

I’m hoping we’ll already have a few winners under our belts as my final Lucky 31 selection runs in the Irish Grand National on Monday. I rather like the 12-year-old Any Second Now for the places. He won last year's Bobbyjo Chase and is falling back down to a very tempting mark. Trainer,Ted Walsh, says that he has his gelding in fine form for a tilt at the Irish National, and he could well have one more big day in the sun yet.

I see Gavin Cromwell’s Hartur D’arc as the main danger. He is an unexposed seven-year-old that is getting better and better as the season progresses, and I’m sure he won’t be too far away at the finish line. But the one I’m going for is Nick Rockett, for Willie Mullins who is on a very attractive mark and he brings a class angle into the race too. He is a sound jumper who stays all day long, and even though he will be a short price in a deep race, I still believe that he is good value off a mark of 146.

My Easter weekend Lucky 31 picks

  • 14:40 Haydock - Doughmore Bay
  • 15:00 Musselburgh - Silky Wilkie
  • 15:35 Musselburgh - Sweet Fantasy
  • 17:40 Fairyhouse - Barnahash Primrose
  • 17:00 Fairyhouse (Monday) - Nick Rockett

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