Richard Birch Picks His Fancies on a Quiet Day of UK Racing

Top Racing Post journalist gives his 'Members Tips' on Racing Post today, are they any good?

2.00 CATTERICK - SINGAPORE TRIP - 11/4 Handicap Hurdle (Go North Cab On Target Series Qualifier)

"Singapore Trip, a big eyecatcher at Wetherby last time, can take advantage of the short journey to local track Catterick by landing the 2m3½f handicap hurdle (2.00) for the Micky Hammond yard.

A five-time winner in France – all on testing ground – Singapore Trip was having just his third start for new connections at Wetherby. Racing from 3lb out of the handicap and easy to back, he made smooth headway from well off the pace at the top of the straight.

Finally shaken up after the penultimate flight, Singapore Trip was doing all his best work towards the finish, crossing the line three lengths behind Santos Blue in third place.

Santos Blue, beaten two and a quarter lengths by the now 157-rated Grade 1 winner Crambo at Aintree in October, went on to finish a good seventh behind Slate Lane in a Class 1 handicap hurdle at Haydock.

Foster'sisland, the runner-up at Wetherby, rates a solid yardstick in good-class handicaps at that track, and the impression left by Singapore Trip was that he would be of serious interest next time out.

He takes a considerable class-drop into a 0-120 and, while it’s not helpful the handicapper put him up 3lb for Wetherby, he should still have something in hand if he is ridden more aggressively.

The Dan Skelton-trained Rocky Man, a stablemate of Santos Blue, shapes as potentially the biggest threat off a fair mark if the switch of headgear from blinkers to cheekpieces conjures a better run than he produced on his most recent start at Lingfield in November."




Best Odds Guaranteed At Vickers.Bet Handicap Hurdle (Challenger Two Mile Hurdle Series Qualifier)

"El Jefe makes plenty of punting appeal in the 1m7½f handicap hurdle (3.30), reappearing just seven days after finishing fourth behind another Skelton horse, Skycutter, at Carlisle.

Skycutter attracted considerable market support that day, and the only moment when it looked as though the gamble could possibly be foiled was when El Jefe cruised into the lead at the second-last.

He failed to pick up as well as Skycutter, though, and weakened up the hill in the manner of a horse who might just have needed his first run since romping home at Haydock on December 23.

El Jefe was completing a deep-ground hat-trick that day and it could be premature to conclude his current mark of 104 is beyond him. After all, he meets Moonlight Glory, who beat him at Newcastle last February – at a time when El Jefe was bang out of form – on 10lb better terms.

As well as the suspicion he may have 'blown up' from the final flight at right-handed Carlisle, it could also be that he doesn’t act as well there as he does on a left-handed track.

The manner in which El Jefe won at Haydock strongly suggested there was more to come from him this winter, and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t give punters the return on the each-way part of their bet at the very least.

He carries just 10st 4lb when regular partner Conor Rabbitt’s 5lb claim is taken into consideration, and receives a double-figure amount of weight from six of his seven rivals."




Mayo Wynne Baxter Handicap Hurdle

Another low-weighted runner, Birdman Bob, is worth backing to land the 2m4½f handicap hurdle (4.15) at Plumpton.

The Andy Irvine-trained seven-year-old ran a blinder at his local track last time out when chasing home Nickelforce.

A smooth winner at Plumpton over a shorter trip in November, Birdman Bob remains unexposed at this longer distance and it’s significant he produced a career-best when tackling the trip for the first time last month.

The form of his November win has worked out nicely, with the runner-up Ede'Iffs Rock scoring at Leicester last month, and the third, Duhallow Tommy, subsequently unbeaten in two starts at Plumpton over fences.

Birdman Bob, who acts well in the mud, has only 10st 1lb to carry when Philip Armson’s 3lb claim is factored into the equation, and it’s rarely a negative when an in-form horse receives a chunk of weight from most rivals in very testing conditions.

Colours On Canvas, who finished eighth, is 5lb better off with second-placed Birdman Bob based on their runs behind Alto Alto at Plumpton early last month, but that looks unlikely to be enough for him to turn the tables.



Richard Birch is one of our favourite writers at theRacing Post and once gain has shown his knowledge with some top tips today FROM Catterick and Plumpton. SINGAPORE TRIP is our banker of the day.