Racing tips from The Colonel

Racing journalist Kevan Minter Photo: SM150211-009js
Racing journalist Kevan Minter Photo: SM150211-009js
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Top racing tipster Kevan Minter, known as The Colonel, gives Mercury readers his top tips for the week ahead. Kevan, who lives in Stamford, is trackside most days and is regularly on television.

Swing Easy looks a horse to follow this year on the flat after bolting in at Lingfield on Saturday. The son of Zamindar looks a very smart prospect who must have fast ground on the turf and has to be one for the note-pad.

The buzz horse at Huntingdon on Sunday was Looking On, who finished runner-up to Hefner in the Maiden Hurdle (7/2 from 5/1) for Venetia Williams. The ex-Henry Candy 5yo should soon gain compensation judged on this race course debut.

Barry Geraghty is the 5/4 favourite to be Cheltenham festival top jockey, with Ruby Walsh at 6/4 and Tony McCoy third favourite at 7/1. It could prove to be a big price but you have to fancy Geraghty with the book of strongly fancied rides for Nicky Henderson who is 1/2 to be top trainer at the festival.

Paul Nicholls has a strong fancy in Mr Mole (5/1) for the Imperial Cup at Sandown on Saturday.

The 5-y-o won with tons in hand at Taunton last month and has been the subject of glowing gallop reports from the west country yard and is held in some regard at his top stable.

Free Thinking will go close in the 3.50 Mares Standard Open National Hunt Race at Sandown Saturday.

l Donald McCain, who is 14/1 to train the winner of this years Grand National, said preparations with Ballabriggs are going well.

He said: “Everything has gone smoothly with Ballabriggs’ preparation this time. We are very happy with him. He ran a blinder at Kelso on Saturday.”

Ballabriggs finished third to Always Right in the Listed Premier Chase, just lacking the pace of the front two - this would have put him spot on for next month at Liverpool.

McCain added: “He is 12 years old but Amberleigh House won it at 12. Ballabriggs is an Aintree horse - he likes the place.”

The trainer is also responsible for the enigmatic but highly talented Weird Al and progressive nine-year-old Across The Bay, who captured a Grade Two hurdle over three miles at Haydock in February, while Cloudy Lane is more likely to miss the race to run in the John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ on the first day of the meeting, Thursday, April 4.

McCain said: “It was slightly unusual that Across The Bay’s last race was over hurdles but he won a Grade Two at Haydock.

“He stays, he jumps and is a young and improving horse, who is going the right way. If he took to the place, he could run a massive race.”

Call The Colonel on 07850 602524 for his racing service.