Horse racing tips for Monday: Tipstar champion Ross Millar marks your card

By Ross Millar@rosscojmill
Sun 7 Feb 2021

Our Tipstar champion tipped Native River (13-2) for Racing TV social media followers at the weekend and and has a strong fancy in the feature at Fairyhouse.

What a weekend of racing!

At Leopardstown, a certain W P Mullins and his ‘Closutton Crew’ swept all before them. The strength in depth that they possess is truly staggering. Indeed, as a good friend messaged me: ‘Mr Mullins could win the ‘Prestbury Cup’ by himself’. Many a true word said in jest.

Leopardstown certainly had quality, yet for me the performance of the weekend came from Native River in the Cotswold Chase. If the sight of him attacking his fences before sticking his head down to master the notorious Sandown hill didn’t make you cry, cheer or smile (in my case all three) then please check your pulse.

From a tipping perspective, I was pleased (Boracha too) with a winner and a place from three selections. I’m also not convinced that Dame De Compagnie was entirely done with when being brought down.

Lots of action coming up on Monday, and I have four selections from three tracks.

1.35 Carlisle: Hart Of Steel at a general 4-1

Zero marks for originality here given this horse featured in my selections for the abandoned card at Sedgefield last Monday but this, if anything, looks a slightly weaker contest.

The heavy ground will suit – which can’t be said for a few of his rivals – and in my book the form of his last run at Sedgefield has worked out well. On that occasion he was beaten one-and-a-half lengths when trying to concede 10lb to Winds Of Fire, who has since franked the form when second next time off a 4lb higher mark. A further 11 lengths back was the 105-rated Red Reminder’, who was in receipt of 9lb.

I firmly believe Hart Of Steel is still well-handicapped off his mark of 120, and all this before you factor in that Theo Gillard takes another 7lb off. With just one winner to go until his claim is reduced to 5lb, I hope this is the ride that gets Theo to that milestone of 20 winners.

2.30 Fairyhouse: Royal Kahala at 15-8 with Bet365

After a hugely successful weekend, I’m sure the Willie Mullins-trained Gauloise will be very well-supported but my money will not be with her as I prefer Royal Kahala.

She already has three course wins to her name and her last run was very impressive given that she actually got stuck in a bit of a pocket going to the last flight of hurdles, allowing eventual runner-up Hook Up to get first run.

Yet once Royal Kahala extricated herself from the pocket she picked up very well and proved a decisive winner. Hook Up has since boosted the form with a fine fourth in Grade One company at Leopardstown on Saturday and I’d be disappointed if Royal Kahala doesn’t win this.

3.20 Plumpton: Tzar De L’elfe at 20-1 with Paddy Power and Betfair

He’s been to Plumpton so many times he could probably drive himself there and tack himself up. He does appear to have an affinity with this track with plenty of his best runs coming here.

His reappearance at Fontwell was somewhat underwhelming, yet I’m inclined to forgive that for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it was run over four furlongs shorter than Monday’s race and it was all happening a bit too quickly for him, resulting in his jumping lacking fluency. Secondly, it was his first run after a break and history has shown us he often improves for a run.

I’m hoping that a combination of reverting to hurdles on this second run after a wind op and at a track he loves - with the excellent Niall Houlihan taking an additional 5lb off his back - can see a much improved performance in a race that looks wide open.

4.20 Plumpton: Legend Of France at 12-1 with Bet365

She might not hold the most obvious claims at first glance, but I think there are valid reasons to expect a good run.

Her last run came 488 days ago at this track when she came to grief two hurdles from home when still in with every chance. Given that she looked capable of being competitive off a mark of 98 on that occasion, it’s a generous move of the handicapper to drop her 4lb to a mark of 94 (just 2lb above her last winning mark).

It’s often said that the smaller training operations aren’t as able to ready one after a break - and this may well be true - but trainer Pat Phelan has already returned Definite Dilemma to finish second this year after a mammoth 580-day lay-off this year, and that horse was beaten just half a length at 40-1.

The fact her sole win came off the back of a 276-day absence gives further optimism for Legend Of France and at nice double-figure odds, I think she has an each-way chance.

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