February 24th, 2015 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

Sometimes you know you won’t be bothering with a horse again and that was the way of it with Sign Of A Victory in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton last Saturday. This was his second very poor effort in a row and it would seem that he has gone backwards, though no doubt one or two loyalists will give him the benefit of the doubt until and unless he lets people down on faster ground.

The form of the race is quite ordinary. Paul Nicholls does not consider beaten favourite Irving to be Champion Hurdle class and the winner, Blue Heron, was taken out of the Cheltenham feature last week. More and more it begins to look as if Faugheen is the stand-out banker at the meeting with The New One the only realistic danger. Jezki surprised me when winning last year and I cannot have him as a particularly gifted champion.

Melodic Rendezvous was a talented hurdler who fell just short of the very highest class. Jeremy Scott took a long while before moving him to fences and the fact that he is nine has to be a slight worry. Even so, I was quite taken by him last time and he has a favourite’s chance in the Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Saturday. I’m not wild about the Betbright Chase and Rajdhani Express certainly worried his supporters with a last of six effort last time, though I feel sure we shall see a much better performance here.

Ryan Moore clicks into gear at Lingfield, where the prize-money is attractive. He rides GO FAR for Alan Bailey in the good six-furlong handicap, the horse having finished fourth behind stable-companion Baddilini last time. The latter switches to seven furlongs in a race race where Moore is on the tough and consistent GREY MIRAGE, who has a leading chance. The former champion has a long association with Jeremy Noseda and no doubt Winter

Derby regular Grandeur will be a short price to follow up last year’s victory. The grey is the type to need a livener these days, however, and on this occasion I just prefer John Gosden’s MAVERICK WAVE, who has a solid recent course victory to his credit.


The Premier League clicks back into gear this weekend, when Chelsea and Manchester City should make it look even more of a two-horse race at the top. This is the time of year when the weight of fixtures can make a difference and Tottenham will no doubt feel the strain against West Ham, who looked a little weary against West Brom in the FA Cup and were without at least three key players.

I think they will give Spurs plenty to think about on Sunday, while Southampton, with everyone probably available again, may be just that bit fresher than Liverpool. I feel the Saints will just miss out on the top four but they have only the league to think about and Sunday afternoon may see them at their very best. It looks a cracking game and I’d expect both teams to score.

Nigel Pearson’s recent behaviour at Leicester has been strange, no matter what he says, and results have just started going against the Foxes again. It’s a pity, because there was definite improvement against Liverpool and Palace, but I feel they will run into an Everton side due a handsome home win. The Toffees loked good against Young Boys on Thursday and, although there will be some tired limns, they are worthy favourites here.

I find the relegation struggle in the Premier much too difficult to call, though I think Sunderland are still in plenty of trouble. Against Southampton, I thought QPR had the attacking players, aided and abetted by Joey Barton, to get out of it. I still do, in way, but HULL are better than people think and may just edge a tense encounter.

I doubt that the Derby faithful minded slipping out of the Cup all that much but they’d have been more worried until a late equaliser brought a 3-3 draw at Rotherham. I still think Derby are just the best team in the Championship and they are nap material at the weekend to beat draw specialists Sheffield Wednesday. The 4/6 with two or three firms is not a ‘call the bank’ price but I think we shall have to play to solid stakes.

Southampton v Liverpool 15 units at 4/5 Both Teams To Score

EVERTON 20 UNITS AT 4/5 (Betfred) to beat Leicester

HULL 15 units at 11/10 (Coral, Betfred) to beat QPR

DERBY 30 units at 4/6 to beat Sheffield Wednesday



SIMONA HALEP 60 units at 2/5 to beat Karolina Pliskova