It's the first day of the Scottish Grand National meeting at Ayr with the feature race being the £25,000-added Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase over 2m4f at 4.00. Newbury kicks-starts the Greenham meeting with a multitude of maiden races with some beautifully bred individuals on board. The supporting racecards are at Fontwell in the afternoon and in the evening at Bath and Southwell (NH).
Ayr Tips -
2.20 - Ayr - An interesting juvenile hurdle to kick off proceedings in which LEXI'S BOY may well be the value to see off Paul Nicholls' highly touted Dildar. The last named eased home on his debut at Taunton, but then couldn't handle the rise in class in the Adonis at Kempton Park. This is easier, but he does have his quirks and the ground may not be perfect either.
BET NOW - LEXI'S BOY
3.25 - Ayr - A tightly knit novices handicap hurdle in which there should be a good pace on and stamina will therefore be at a premium. I fancy that RUDEMEISTER will be able to turn around Kelso two and three quarter mile form with Malin Bay on these better terms over this longer trip. He looked to be going best between the final two flights but just couldn't quicken. The biggest danger to the selection could be Vintage Star who came from another parish to finish third in a decent looking contest at Haydock Park.
BET NOW - RUDEMEISTER
4.00 - Ayr - Off a handicap mark of 142 Divers is in with every chance despite top weight, but I would be worried about the ground softening any further. Stable mate De Boitron has been crying out for this kind of trip, but looks out of sorts at the moment so the vote goes to THE KNOXS. He hasn't really delivered as expected in his career to date, but has been more consistent of late and if he can transfer the form he showed in a good contest over hurdles last time out to fences there is no doubt that the Paul Nicholls charge is the one to beat here.
BET NOW - THE KNOXS
Newbury Tips -
1.35 - Newbury - A tricky little goo class handicap to start the afternoon off with and with and there is likely to be plenty of give in the turf so in the prevailing conditions I fancy CONFESSIONAL to take the scalp of Blue Jack. The latter has run well here before but wouldn't want the ground too deep whereas the selection loves a bit of juice and ran a nice pipe-opener behind Colonel Mak at Doncaster last time out. That should have blown away the cobwebs and he is preferred to Medicean Man who made great strides last season and looked on good terms with himself on his return at Lingfield when he didn't get the best of runs through the race.
BET NOW - CONFESSIONAL
4.55 - Newbury - A race won last year by the progressive Cai Shen features several unexposed colts that could make their mark in much higher grade this season. Chief among them are the Godolphin pair SWEDISH SAILOR and Gold Rally. Both of them won their only starts to date on really soft ground and the former just gets the vote as he is reported the more forward of the two. Both have plenty of scope to make their mark over even further this season and are fancied ahead of Ektihaam. Roger Varian has his horses in good form already and this scopey individual didn't handle the contours in the Dewhurst after looking a classy sort in two previous wins including a fair conditions race at Doncaster.
BET NOW - SWEDISH SAILOR