Saturday racing tips: Andy Ayres picks out his best bet for Saturday's ITV racing, has news of the biggest gambles and talks equine flu

Saturday racing tips: Andy Ayres picks out his best bet for Saturday's ITV racing, has news of the biggest gambles and talks equine flu

February 8, 2019

It is 18-years since racing was locked down by foot-and-mouth and with Cheltenham just round the corner the timing of this latest health scare is diabolical.

Donald McCain is at the centre of the story but before any fingers are pointed maybe we should question the hygiene at our racecourses.

In the last couple of weeks trainers have complained that old feed has been found on the floor of stables at Ludlow and Kempton and that just isn’t good enough.

It was a desperate week for luckless Robert Havlin who went a purler when Beehaar clipped heels and fell in a tuppenny-h’appenny race at Kempton on Wednesday.

The poor filly was fatally injured, Havlin busted his collar-bone and a rib, while careless Charlie Bennett copped a 12-day ban for causing the interference.

WAR-ROOM OF VETS Over 1500 horses to be tested for equine flu on Friday

The incident was a proper video nasty and didn’t do the game any favours as BHA bigwigs were at the track to chat with equine welfare representatives.

The word from the weighing room before the 1m novice event was that Marco Botti’s Don Jupp (6-1 to 6-4) only need run in a straight line to collect.

He managed that without a bother, scooting clear under a near motionless Danny Muscutt.

Botti looked doubly relieved when the result was posted and I reckon his share of the takings might have paid for a decent bottle of vino.

By the way, if you want to see a sniffy ride then have a gander at Henry Brooke’s `effort’ on Braid Blue in a novice hurdle up at Ayr.

Exhibits at Madame Tussauds move more than Brooke did in the closing stages and the Stewards quite rightly gave him a fortnight no-expenses paid holiday.

They rammed the point home by fining trainer Gordon Elliot £3,000 and banning the horse for 40-days.

Olly Murphy is on a fast-track to the top and his team went for a proper old fashioned touch with Nice To Sea (50-1 to 14-1) at Wolverhampton on Monday.

Hopefully the fellas involved played each-way, as the mare ran into more trouble than Donald Trump in a Tacos bar before finishing a desperately unlucky third.

Lady jockeys won the first three races here, pride of place going to Nicola Currie on Hathal (3-1 to 2-1).

This old rascal has turned a corner since natty Nicola climbed aboard and deserves a crack at the Winter Derby now he’s got his mojo back.

Patrolling the racecourses during winter is a chilly old occupation and the freezing temperatures certainly numbed the bonce of a member of Kempton’s security staff last week.

Trackman's Saturday Selection

KONITHO (2.40 Naas) impressed on his stable debut here last time and is on the upgrade.

The fella in question wouldn’t trouble the judge on University Challenge and had gone particularly pale after a few hours out in the more than fresh air.

“Blimey, you’ve turned translucent”, I said. “No, no, no” he replied, “I like the ladies!”

ITV’s cameras are at Naas this afternoon where PRAVALAGUNA (2.10) has a massive shout in a Listed chase.

Joseph O’Brien has a cracking team of young hurdlers and can nab the juvenile event with KONITHO (2.40).

He’s been sold to J P McManus since bolting-up over C&D a fortnight ago and could be smart.

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