Early Bird – 24th March

3:35 Doncaster – Leader Writer

The start of the flat season and already we are in with the big handicaps with the Lincoln the race we have to solve. With the weather how it has been lately then it would have been a real struggle for yards to get their horses spot on for this race so some kind of prep run is sure to have been a help. This is not a race for favourites, with 6 clear favs in the last 7 years and only two got any closer than tenth! Experience has been crucial in this with the last seven winners all having raced at least 14 times which is a negative for the likes of Addeybb, whilst the last time a horse carried more than 9st 4lb to victory in this was in 2004 which is a negative for Big Country and top weight Lord Glitters.

My fancy who fits these trends is Leader Writer who looks perfect for a straight line cavalry charge. A good winner of a mile class 2 handicap last year over the straight course at Ascot, it is only 5lb higher in the weights from that but showed a great turn of foot in the difficult conditions. Should get the strong pace it requires to help it settle, with a preference for soft ground then this race has bound to of been on the radar of this horse throughout the winter. Yard are up and coming with several good horses in their stable. If getting the breaks then I am hopeful this will go close.

1pt e/w Leader Writer @ 11/1 Coral 1/5th odd 6 places

3:15 Newbury – Kalahari Queen & Bee Crossing

Lightly raced mare from the Jamie Snowden yard who was a winner when last seen 29 days ago. This race invariably goes to a lightly raced mare with decent form and not carrying too much weight such as this. An impressive winner on handicap debut, she will have no problem on the soft ground either. This will be a step up in trip but she is a point to point winner over 3m so shouldn’t be an issue.

If you like her chances on form then you have to consider Bee Crossing also, who finished 11 lengths behind Kalahari Queen but is getting 10lb in weight. Has been performing consistently which has seen it place on her last four runs, she has a very low weight, stays the trip well and yards runners are often underrated in big field handicaps. She could well be thereabouts at the finish again at a big price.

1pt win Kalahari Queen @ 9/1 widely available

0.5pt e/w Bee Crossing @ 28/1 Paddy and BetVictor 1/4 odds 4 places

3:50 Newbury – Kayf Adventure

One of my outside Cheltenham tips, which actually finished 7th behind Mister Whitaker who we had also given anyway. Didn’t run a bad race to finish 7th though got the feeling Richard Johnson wasn’t overly hard on the horse and was never really put into contention to get close to winning. Part of that though was that it was held up out the back on the rail all the way round and I am still working on a theory that horses that raced primarily in the pack and against the rail were at a significant disadvantage over those to race wider out, arguably on the better, less churned up ground. With that theory in mind I am happy to put it to the test with Kayf Adventure here who will have no problems with the conditions and if that last race has had no effect on it then it has a decent chance.

1pt win Kayf Adventure @ 13/2 Paddy and BetVictor