Estidhkaar the Newbury value on a big day of dual-code racing

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Whether you are a flat fan or a jumps racing aficionado this weekend is a real treat with the Scottish Grand National meeting complementing Greenham day at Newbury.

For a full run through on the marathon contest at Ayr, you can listen to our podcast on the 4m½f contest, right here.

While we could go through every race, we’ve picked out a trio of the best bets from across the cards on Saturday.

We’ve also previewed the three Group 3 races at Newbury on Saturday in our latest podcast…

And remember, if you pick out a winner at 4/1m or bigger in any of the eight live Channel 4 races on Saturday, you will be rewarded with a free bet up to £25!*

Here are our three to get behind…

Oscar Rock – 14:00 Ayr

The fancy for this Future Champion Novices’ Chase could be more down to the weaknesses of his rivals, than his strength.

Top Gamble has done all his wining on soft ground, Solar Impulse needs to prove he stays, while Grate Fella looks outclassed.

There’s not a lot to work with but Oscar Rock looks well worthy of an interest in this contest.

With a record of 1211 on ground with the word ‘good’ in it over trips between 2m4f and 2m6f, conditions look to be spot on for him.

He’s won his last two races very well, including when giving weight all round at Kelso last month, beating Lucinda Russell’s Final Assault by 9l, the same horse rival here Fine Rightly beat by 4l.

A big race double for connections after Cyrius Darius landed the Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree could be on the cards in Scotland.

Estidhkaar – 14:50 Newbury

Like favourite Ivawood, the soft ground probably found out Richard Hannon’s supposed second-string on his last outing.

But looking back through his form, 7f on decent ground will be well up his street.

Before that defeat to Belardo at Newmarket in October, the colt had racked up three wins on the bounce, two at Group 2 level, including a defeat of subsequent Solario Stakes winner Aktabantay.

The jolly for this race looks a smart animal and certainly didn’t look like stopping over 6f.

However his sire Zebedee looks, in his short stallion career, to have become a sprint specialist, with his progeny operating at a 35 per cent strike-rate and 5f-6f, compared to a 19 per cent strike-rate at 7f-9f.

Ivawood looks very short in the betting to defy that record, and with Estidhkaar not looking far behind on quality might be a fantastic each-way bet to nothing.

Dunraven Storm – 15:10 Ayr

Philip Hobbs’ horse looks the class act in this field, perhaps highlighted by the fact he has to concede heaps of weight to his six rivals. Nevertheless he can defy that burden.

The eight-year-old has been competing in higher grades throughout his debut season over fences and holding his own.

He beat subsequent Henry VII Novices’ Chase winner Vibrato Valtat at Cheltenham in November, and was ahead of the 148-rated Traffic Fluide at Ascot despite conceding 7lb, so now on that same mark can strike.

He’s disappointed on his last two appearances, but with his trainer bringing just seven horses to Ayr in the past five seasons, he’s obviously spotted a golden opportunity for his chaser to get back to winning ways.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.