Betting in big-field, low-grade sprint handicaps comes with risks attached, but I like the look of one at Redcar today (4.30pm) at a big price.

An £80,000 purchase as a yearling, Ealand didn’t come close to justifying his price tag in three novice runs last summer, all within the space of a month.  However, Phillip Makin’s horses were in no sort of form at the time (1-58 in the month Ealand was running) and the horse looked in need of the experience.

He did, however, show ability on his second and third starts, at Beverley and Hamilton respectively, whilst also shaping as though this 6f trip would suit better.  He has the size to progress, has a fair pedigree and was gelded the day after his final run of 2020.

Makin has had a relatively quiet start to his training career, but could be a trainer to follow in the next couple of seasons and his runners this term have been going well.  In the last fortnight, he has had an 80-1 winner and two placed horses (both at 28-1) from just four runners, which is very encouraging in terms of having his horses ready to go at the start of the season.

A lowly mark of 56 means Ealand won’t have had to progress much over the winter to take a hand here and at 16-1, he is worth supporting.

4.30 Redcar – 1pt win, 0.5pt place Ealand @ 16-1 5 places (William Hill, Betfair, Paddy Power, Skybet, Boylesports)


The losing run for Nezar is mounting up, but today might be the day to catch him and there is enough in the price to warrant siding with him at Wolverhampton (1.20pm).

His last four successes have come at the course, in each of the last four years, the latest of them over this trip off a 10lbs higher mark last January.

He hasn’t been at his best since and is now into the veteran stage, but the last time he ran here in class 6 company, in December off a mark of 64, he finished a close third, and there have been excuses since.  He has run very respectively in a 0-70 and 0-65 at Kempton the last twice (latest over an inadequate 6f) and gets his ideal conditions here today, including a good draw in stall 2.

1.20 Wolverhampton – 1pt win Nezar @ 8-1 (Bet365, 888Sport, 15/2 William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral, Skybet)