Doncaster Racecourse

The opening day of the Perth Festival is today’s feature meeting, and the ground was given as good to soft on Tuesday morning although there was a dry forecast ahead of the seven-race card.

In the listed NH Novices’ Hurdle, I hope to see COMPLETE UNKNOWN (3.35) improve for the step up to three miles for the first time despite the fact that he has nothing in hand of Dan Skelton’s mare Galia Des Liteaux on Ascot running on his penultimate start.

The selection landed the valuable NH Handicap Hurdle at Sandown last time on Imperial Cup day giving every impression he would appreciate this step up in trip. Good to soft ground would be ideal but he is one of a number in the field unproven on good ground.

Recommendation: Complete Unknown 3.35 Perth at 4/1 with William Hill

Olly Murphy has saddled four winners from his last six runners and likes to have runners at this meeting. COREY’S COURAGE (4.41) was taken out of the valuable mares’ handicap hurdle at Newbury at the beginning of the month on account of the good ground but there should be no problem on that score this afternoon.

The mare is unbeaten in her four starts – three hurdles one bumper – and remains potentially very well treated off a mark of 117. She can defy the steadier of 11st 10lbs with Aidan Coleman coming north for just the one ride.

Recommendation: Corey’s Courage 4.41 Perth at 9/4 with 10Bet

Over to Ludlow where I am going to give ROCK ON RITA (3.15) another chance to build on the promise of her win at Ffos Las on her penultimate start. The mare was a beaten favourite at Plumpton last time when given plenty to do by Aidan Coleman although she looked a tricky conveyance on that occasion.

Richie McLernon takes over in the saddle this afternoon for Neil Mulholland in the colours of JP McManus and this will be the fastest ground she has encountered to date. She remains open to significant improvement after just six career starts having won her sole point in her native Ireland.

If I Say has been given a break since coming down three out at Wincanton last time when holding every chance. Her point win came over the minimum trip and I do feel she will be winning races over obstacles this spring for Charlie Longsdon.

Recommendation: Rock On Rita 3.15 Ludlow at 5/2 with Boylesports

At Lingfield this evening SHIBORI (6.30) can get off the mark at the second time of asking in the 7f Fillies’ Novice event for John & Thady Gosden. The filly was slowly away and was then forced to come widest of all on debut, but she made some late progress – without exactly rattling home – to finish runner up. The winner – Midheaven – is only rated 78 so the form is nothing special, but she wouldn’t be the first Gosden filly to improve enormously from her first run.   

She will likely get a mile later in the season, but she looks sure to have benefited from her initial, experience and must go close if getting away on terms tonight.

Recommendation: Shibori 6.30 Lingfield at 7/4 with Boylesports

MR TAMBOURINE MAN (7.30) won over jumps at Exeter last time over 2m 5f and his lowly flat rating has been gained from three runs over 7f. In form David Pipe has booked Tom Marquand for the ride on this former Ballydoyle inmate in the 1m 6f handicap at Salisbury this evening and he could be very well handicapped from an opening flat mark of 58. There is plenty of stamina in his pedigree and it would be no surprise if he were to run up a sequence in staying handicaps this summer.

Sulochana won the corresponding race 12 months ago from a 10lbs lower mark and represents the main danger. Hughie Morrison’s mare clearly goes well fresh, and Richard Kingscote takes over in the saddle for the first time on the 5-y-old.

Recommendation: Mr Tambourine Man 7.30 Salisbury at 9/4 with William Hill

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