Beat the banker with No Deal

  • By: Nick Grant
  • Last Updated: January 2 2013, 16:13 GMT

Our man Nick Grant is backing No Deal to win for in-form trainer Lucinda Russell in the opening race at Ayr on Thursday.

Lucinda Russell has her team in fine fettle
Lucinda Russell has her team in fine fettle

AYR: 12.30 NO DEAL (NAP), 1.00 Real Milan, 1.30 Sergeant Pink, 2.00 Tipsy Dara, 2.30 Rowan Road, 3.00 Hollo Ladies, 3.30 Ballyben.

LINGFIELD: 12.50 Hot Sugar, 1.20 Liberal Lady, 1.50 Devout, 2.20 Harry Buckle, 2.50 Sporting Gold, 3.20 Only Ten Per Cent, 3.50 Welsh Inlet.

THURLES: 12.55 Kampala Girl, 1.25 Call The Police, 1.55 Galianna, 2.25 War Correspondent, 2.55 Native Court, 3.25 Dream Talk, 3.55 Briar Hill.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 1.35 Prince Of Prophets, 2.05 Charter, 2.35 Hardy Red, 3.05 Illustrious Prophet, 3.35 English Summer, 4.05 Stamp Duty, 4.35 Monsieur Pontaven.

DOUBLE: No Deal and English Summer.

Lucinda Russell has plenty of decent prospects in her Borders yard and No Deal looks to be among them ahead of his outing in the Follow Us On Twitter At BetVictorRacing Maiden Hurdle at Ayr.

The seven-year-old made a winning debut for his new connections when keeping on stoutly to claim a Carlisle bumper in gruelling conditions in November and has the size and scope to make a proper staying chaser in time.

For now he starts off over hurdles and looks guaranteed to relish every yard of this extended three-mile test.

Ability to handle the conditions will be crucial and Tipsy Dara is another to fit the bill in the catchily-titled BetVictor Cheltenham Festival Antepost Pioneers Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Chase.

Nick Alexander's mare has started the winter in great heart with two wins from the three runs, and like so many goes well for the trainer's daughter, Lucy.

She did all her best work late when staying on to deny subsequent winner Billy Cuckoo over two and a half miles at Carlisle in the middle of last month.

The nine-year-old gets further than that and the extra furlong she faces here is not too off-putting with that in mind.

Hollo Ladies has surely dropped to a winning mark and with that in mind is worth a moderate interest in the Handicap Hurdle with conditions to suit.

Still only an eight-year-old, it is easy to forget the ex-Irish gelding is a former Grade One winner over timber and it is fair to say his career has not been on an upward curve since that Leopardstown win in December 2009.

Now with Ferdy Murphy, a novice chasing campaign saw four seconds and a win from nine starts but he has switched back to hurdles having had a year off.

A couple of runs at Haydock and Aintree might just have put him right to go somewhere close in this.

Roger Varian has his select team of horses for the all-weather season going well and Sporting Gold can make it another winner in the Median Auction Maiden Stakes.

The Shirocco four-year-old stepped up a fair bit on what we had previously seen from him when second to Whitby Jet at Kempton last month, his first start for 204 days and since being gelded.

It is reasonable to assume there is a bit more to come and Jamie Spencer is an eyecatching booking.

Harry The Buckle should be followed in the Blue Square Bet Handicap.

Although he was shedding his maiden tag at the 14th attempt he could hardly have been more impressive and he had more than a fair few bits of form to suggest he was capable of something like that.

Always handy, it was just a matter of how far when Jimmy Fortune pressed the button, and off the same mark and getting weight all round hopefully William Carson will enjoy a similar experience.

Devout merits a small interest in the Dolly Langton 80th Birthday Handicap.

The Jamie Osborne-trained filly is only moderate but remains lightly raced and has shown improved form in two runs on Polytrack, going close here and running better than her placing suggested at Wolverhampton. This might not take a lot of winning.

David Simcock had a couple of options for English Summer on Wolverhampton's card and plumped for the longer Horse Racing Free Bets With Handicap.

The Dr Marwan Koukash-owned gelding is a model of consistency on the sand, at distances generally between a mile and a half and a mile and three-quarters.

A determined winner over a mile and a half at Lingfield, Simcock could have opted for a shorter contest than this extended two-mile affair, which is a tip in itself.

Back in September 2011 he was actually not far behind Never Can Tell - who won the Cesarewitch next time out - over something like this trip off a mark of 90, and runs from 73 in this.

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