Leaderboard FebruarySaturday’s #8PointstoPlay tipping blog is currently 111.94 pts in profit for the season.

Barry Doyle (champ.ie), Colm Finlay (BetXS), Ronan Groome (The Irish Field), Andrew Blair White (Blair White’s Blog), Thomas Coyle (Trainer), Jason Kiely (Sporting Life), Alan Doyle (Aldorithm) & The Rooster lock horns.

Racing tips from Ascot, Gowran, Haydock & Wincanton. Colm Finlay sits on top of the leaderboard and has a strong message for the trailing pack.

Colm Finlay - Profile

Colm Finlay #8PointstoPlay score: +142.5pts

1:15 Ascot – Pipesmoker (11/2) 8pts win

I’m just not so sure the top two in the market are quite as good as people might think. With regards to Sporting john, the horse that finished 2nd to him last time out is now a 20/1 shot in a handicap tomorrow at Wincanton. Master Debonair’s owners sounded like they wanted to handicapping with him which is hardly a vote in confidence when its the owners you expect to be the most bullish and the 3rd that day has been beaten by a bigger distance since albeit another Tizzard horse.

I think out of the top two I am a bit more worried about Master Debonair. I think he’ll finish ahead of Sporting John. Pipesmoker stayed on taking last time out at Cheltenham behind the well regarded Chantry House and that could easily be good enough here even if he doesn’t improve much more beyond that run. The extra couple of furlongs of this contest should be right on the money for him. Even the fact that there is only two other horses for him to beat just makes the puzzle a simpler one to deconstruct (the Twiston Davis horse will finish last). I am going to show off here and give the 1,2,3 & 4.
1st Pipesmoker 2nd Master Debonair 3rd Sporting John 4th Torn and Frayed

Andrew Blair WHite Profile

Andrew Blair White #8PointstoPlay score: +20.43pts

1.30 Haydock – The Big Bite (3/1) 2 Pts Win

A very classy horse in his younger days, The Big Bite has danced with some of the big boys in the last two Cheltenham Festivals. After a solid 4th on Chase Debut, he followed up by succeeding at Doncaster last time out despite some novicey jumping. His jumping would need to improve but his form was readily franked today by the second, Senior Citizen, and there is plenty of room for manœuvre off his current mark.

3.15 Haydock – Geronimo (9/1) 1 Pt Win

I backed this horse the last time at Haydock in the Peter Marsh, when staying on well to finish 3rd behind Vintage Clouds. He has tested the waters of these staying handicaps to good effect before and this step back to 3m4f could well play to his strengths. Should run well at a price.

2.12 Wincanton – Not Another Muddle (11/2) 2 Pts Win

This was a horse I was very keen on for the Grand Annual last year after posting some excellent efforts in competitive Handicap Chases. An improving sort who goes well fresh, there could well be scope for improvement off this mark on his first outing of the season.

3.00 Ascot – The Con Man (11/2) 3 Pts Win

I really was taken with this Donald McCain trained gelding when hacking up last time at Kelso. That effort was on the back of two promising seconds to very well regarded horses in the shape of Marie’s Rock and Flinck. He looks to be lining up here with a competitive mark and I question the favourite after his scrappy victory last time at Chepstow. This horse should be bang there when it comes to the business end.

Jason Kiely - Profile

Jason Kiely #8PointstoPlay score: +19pts

2:40 Haydock – Rocadenn (7/2) 4pt win

Hugely impressive when racking up a four timer over the winter. His trainer told me a long time ago that they dream of running this lad at the Cheltenham festival, be it in the Triumph or the Fred Winter . This is more of a test to see what route to take, but I think he can win. The fact that this four year old has already won a steeple chase should help massively and I think he could run and jump his rivals into submission!! If handling a UK course for the first time.

5.00 Haydock – Wishing And Hoping (Evens) 2pt win

4:45 Ascot –  Eleanor Grove (16/1) 1pt ew

Alan Doyle

Alan Doyle #8PointstoPlay score: +15pts

3.50 Haydock – Kilbricken Storm (7/1) 8pt win

Ran well in defeat in the Cleeve Hurdle and is now on a handicap mark similar to his mark coming into the Albert Bartlett in 2018 which he won on very soft ground. That is a gruelling race for a novice and combined with not really getting his preferred heavy ground last season and a season which started over fences and reverted back to hurdles, nothing really went right. This year has been more straightforward and tomorrow, will get his preferred heavy ground and Robbie Power is on his back, so should be capable of a big run.

The Rooster - Profile

The Rooster #8PointstoPlay score: -8 pts

3:00 Ascot – Myplaceatmidnight (12/1) 8pt win

Very good second to Limited Reserve at Taunton when beaten only 3 lengths. Jonjo O’Niell jnr on board tomorrow.

Barry Doyle - Profile

Barry Doyle #8PointstoPlay score: -11.5pts

1.50 Ascot – Pym (11/4) 3pt win

Competitive Reynoldstown but 11/4 on Pym looks far too big. Patricia Pugh’s 7yo promised plenty as a hurdler but looks a completely different animal over fences. Not the most robust looking 3m chaser but does make a decent shape over his jumps. Comes out on top at the weights here and likes Ascot. Can put his hand up as an RSA contender!

2.40 Haydock – Geralamo Cardano (4/1) 2pt win

Brilliant effort at Cheltenham three weeks ago in graded company. Haydock may suit better and he’s better off than the favorite at the weights. Proven form on Heavy looks significant with Johnny Burke on board. Big chance back down in class.

3.15 Haydock – Vintage Clouds (15/2) 1 pt ew

My fancy for the Scottish National last season off the back of a cracking effort in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham. Looked in fine fettle when winning Peter Marsh (G2) last time on Heavy ground. Can go in again here despite being raised 11Ibs. Plenty in here to take on seemed to love Haydock.

3.00 Ascot – Eden Du Houx (9/2) 1 pt win

Dual bumper winner who was probably expected to achieve more than he did in novice ranks.  Got the job done in testing conditions at Chepstow last month. 130 looks an interesting mark going handicapping.

Thomas Coyle - Profile

Thomas Coyle #8PointstoPlay score: -27.12pts

1.10 Gowran – Deealli (40/1) 1pt ew

Looks like that first 4yo bumper of the year could be a race to follow with horses have won since and been placed. My lad travelled well but just didn’t pick up at the business end on the quick ground. Hopefully he’ll handle the heavy ground tomorrow and I’m hoping he won’t be far away.

3.15 Haydock – One For Arthur (8/1) 1.5pt ew

One For Arthur stayed on well in the Beecher the last day. An extra 3 furlongs here will help and hopefully this will leave him right for another tilt at a National.

2.25 Ascot – Captain Drake (13/2) 3pt win

Given an entry in the Grade 2 on this same card. Won well in Exeter LTO has and carries a nice weight in 10”7. Could take a bit of beating in this!

Ronan Groome

Ronan Groome #8PointstoPlay score: -38.37pts

2:19 Gowran Park – Miss Cognac (6/1)  1pt win
Comfortable winner at Limerick on St Stephen’s day and this unexposed mare looks progressive now, can win again on ground that will suit her

2:25 Ascot – Red Indian (9/2)  2pts e/w
Shaped nicely on comeback at Haydock where he just got tired late on, on what was his seasonal debut. More unexposed than the majority of this field and at around 5/1, looks very good value in a good each way market with the dead eight runners.

3:00 Ascot – Prudhomme (10/1) 1pt win
Catches the eye here as an unexposed sort for the in-form Nick Williams team. Previous run at Taunton is essentially nothing to write home about but it was his first start after a wind op. Was progressive before that and could shape a lot better today.

4:39 Gowran Park – Lovron Pearl (11/4) 2pts win
Shaped nicely in Tipperary bumper back in May and now having her first run for Willie Mullins, she can improve to get off the mark