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Horse racing tips for Monday: Ross Millar shares his three best bets

By Ross Millar@rosscojmill
Sun 7 Mar 2021

Our Tipstar champion resumes Monday tipping duties and offers interesting cases for three runners, including a handicap debutant that catches the eye in more ways than one.

This weekend’s racing clues were far more focused on horses that might run at Aintree, rather than the Cheltenham Festival.

The Shunter is the possible exception, who will surely try and land the lucrative £100,000 bonus following his Morebattle Hurdle success, given he has four handicap entries at the Festival. It’s fair to say connections will explore every possibility, and for my money, his best chance would be in the Paddy Power Plate.

In terms of Aintree preparations, connections of My Drogo, Cloth Cap and Hitman must be feeling it’s a case of job well done. Of them all, Cloth Cap impressed me the most and Tom Scudamore looks the perfect partner.

As for Hitman, I can’t help but draw comparison to stablemate Cyrname - is he going to be another that looks supreme when allowed to dominate and not as good when upped in class? Time will tell.

Here are my three selections for Monday.

3.05 Southwell: Mr Chua at a general 7-4

He looks to have outstanding claims and can run off the same mark as last time. In what looks very clever placing by trainer Michael Scudamore, no penalties are applicable for that last-time out success in a race restricted to conditional jockeys.

That win was over two miles, and he briefly looked vulnerable turning for home before powering away to beat the 90-rated Bird On The Wire - in receipt of 18lb - by a comfortable five lengths. The way he finished suggested these additional four furlongs will see him to even better effect and that’s echoed by his Flat performances, where his very solid form over two miles indicates he is not short of stamina.

The one potential negative is the quick six-day turnaround, but this is something that he has coped with previously in his career.

I think he is a good distance ahead of the handicapper and believe he’s capable of winning this, and a few more besides.

3.40 Southwell: Caffe Macchiato at a general 15-2

Tim Vaughan has had a very quiet season by his usual standards, but there have been green shoots of a revival in the past month.

Caffe Macchiato was a very solid 80-rated Flat performer in France but has shown precious little in four runs over hurdles so far. However, his jumping has looked solid and his unseat two starts ago was courtesy of being hampered.

Charlie Price had impressed me when riding for me in point to points and I’ve followed his career with interest since. I’m very confident he is as good as any 5lb conditional riding.

That 5lb claim and the application of a visor – which was worn for all his wins in France – plus the addition of a tongue tie on this first run after a wind operation strongly hints that we may see a much-improved performance on handicap debut.

At decent double-figure odds I’m certainly more than happy to take a chance on him.

4.20 Wetherby: Haafapiece at a general 9-2

I firmly believe that she would have won last time when falling at the last and with some solid course form to her name - and ground conditions sure to suit - I would expect her to go very close.

Her penultimate run when beaten three lengths by Albert’s Back can also be marked up, as hindsight would suggest she faced an impossible task trying to concede 2lb. That horse is now rated 141.

She does have to defy a career-high mark, but Paul O’Brien helps by claiming 3lb.

Likely favourite Shantou Express certainly doesn’t strike me as particularly well-handicapped given the form of his Ascot run last time.

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