Scots Piper represents Mark Johnston at Newmarket.

Next Stage to Take the Lead at Newmaket

Next Stage has a good chance at Newmarket on Tuesday.

Easter weekend is an absolute treat for sports lovers, especially for those with an affinity for the sport of kings. Dollops of action can be fantastic for the casual bettor, but can make the job of those who take betting a little more seriously a touch tedious, as mountains of form needs to be trawled through before value bets can be identified. Back to normality on Tuesday and we have a couple of tasty bets to hopefully help pocket a profit on the day.

3.30 Newmarket – Next Stage

Tuesday often plays host to low grade, low quality action, but that is not the case this week, with Newmarket putting on a strong card. The 1 mile, Class 2 handicap looks an intriguing contest, with a mix of unexposed younger horses brimming with potential, taking on more hardened handicappers who know what it is all about. Our selection emanates from the former category, with Next Stage from the powerful Saeed Bin Suroor yard being the pick. The 4 year old son of Dubawi has only seen the racecourse on 3 occasions, and has clearly had his problems, but it is interesting that powerful connections have opted to retain this horse and he is also still yet to be gelded. Returning from a 300 day absence, the market will be interesting, but the well bred colt could have the potential to be much better than a mark of 90, and at odds of +400 with Bet365, Coral and Ladbrokes, he looks a decent bet.

Next Stage won his debut at Lingfield on the all weather back in late 2015, showing plenty of promise, travelling with zest that day. Was then given a break over the winter and then returned last summer at Doncaster. Sported the headgear that day, so had clearly been a little fresh at home, but ran with credit in a decent race, being badly hampered late in the day, before finishing second. May well have won that day bar the interference, and as such was sent off a strong market leader at Salisbury next time out. That race was on soft ground, which clearly did not suit as the horse was beaten out of sight, but there are suspicions that something else was wrong. Has been off since and returns on good ground at racing HQ. If that last race had not happened, this horse would be +200  or shorter, and we can forgive one bad effort. Fitness should not be an issue, as Saeed Bin Suroor has a fantastic record with his handicappers returning from an absence; 76/300 (25%) for £93 LSP, giving an A/E of -227 .

5.25 Southwell – Virnon

Alan Swinbank is a fan of Southwell’s fibresand surface, and his runners have a very good record at the track. He brings last time out winner Virnon back to the scene of his success, although the horse is running over 2 furlongs shorter, tackling the 1 mile 6 furlong distance this time. With a Brian Ellison runner heading the early market, we think Virnon provides the betting value at odds of +225  with Paddy Power.

Many bettors who look at Virnon’s recent form will conclude that the horse struggled on his penultimate run (which was over today’s course and distance) and benefitted from a step up in trip when scoring in a small field contest last time out. However, if you cast your eye back through the form book, you will see that Virnon gagged up at Southwell last winter over 12 furlongs, so he clearly has the pace for the shorter distance. The horse is relatively unexposed on the flat and has already shown he loves the fibresand. A further positive is the fact that Swinbank has a great record with his runners on the all-weather, who won an all-weather contest last time out; they are 20/50 (40%) for £21 LSP, giving an A/E of -233 . Virnon should be favourite for this contest and a repeat of his effort last time out will see the horse go very close.

Tips Summary

15:30 Newmarket – Next Stage to win
Tuesday 18th April
Odds:  +400

17:25 Southwell – Virnon to win
Tuesday 18th April
Odds:  +225

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