Megan Nicholls Racing Tips – Newmarket, York & Chepstow

Our ambassador Megan Nicholls has her say on the week in horse racing.

The former jockey, who rode more than 110 winners, is now an expert TV pundit garnering rave reviews for her racing insight.

Now, Megan brings that knowledge to BetMGM with her views and tips ahead of a packed day of racing, which this week includes meetings at Newmarket, York, and Chepstow…

The Week Just Passed

We have heard a lot about Harry Burns and Hollie Doyle in the news recently and it was nice to see common sense prevail in Hollie’s case.

Both cases were similar in some ways. Hollie was given a one-month suspended ban by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) after testing positive for the forbidden substance Dihydrocodeine, a byproduct of some Ibuprofen medicine. Doyle was taking painkillers following a fall at Wolverhampton and subsequent elbow surgery.

Thankfully, testers realised there was contamination in the results, likely from Ibuprofen purchased abroad, and it's great that her one-month ban has been suspended.

Harry Burns, however, is subject to a two-month suspension after neglecting to inform the authorities about 'notifiable' medication he was using while continuing his riding activities.

I think it's crazy, after what we have learnt about Hollie, that Harry’s punishment should stand. He is suffering from Crohn's Disease and must use a specific type of medication, which he has recently changed.

When you are prescribed something you have to declare it but, when you have been on medication for a prolonged time, it would be easy to forget to update a slight alteration.

It's also not performance-enhancing; it hasn't affected his riding whatsoever, it's just to keep him healthy. The fact the BHA banned him from riding for two months is absolutely outrageous, in my opinion.

It just seems unfair they can't counterbalance their opinion on the two cases. There's no consistency there and it's a real shame to see; this is a case where the BHA have let themselves and Harry down.

Saturday Racing Tips

Newmarket 2.00 – Dewhurst Stakes

I think this is trickier than the market suggests. City of Troy looks like he could be an absolute freak and has been very impressive in what he’s done in his two starts so far.

My selection will be judged on how much rain falls. If it doesn’t affect the ground too much then City of Troy is definitely the worthy favourite and would take a lot of beating – but he was withdrawn at the Curragh last time when the ground was described as unsuitable for him and it was on the slow side that day.

There’s every chance he’s a non-runner again here if it absolutely pours with rain but, if it stays on the good or faster side, then he’s the worthy favourite.

Off the back of that, if the rain really does fall and get in then Iberian would be the one to go with. His form from Doncaster in the Champagne Stakes has worked out really well – Rosalian [third at Doncaster that day] has come out and won a Group One over in Longchamp since, so Iberian’s got really solid form.

He is second favourite at the moment and my decision for this one would very much depend on what rainfall arrives so I wouldn’t be real strong with an opinion until the morning of the race.

Megan’s tip: Iberian WIN

York 2.25 – Sprint Trophy Handicap

There’s a couple of horses to mention for this one but I think Apollo One is the horse that I’ll be siding with. He deserves to get his head in front, he’s been running really consistently all season.

When he was third at Beverley I just thought five furlongs was that little bit too sharp for him and he was running on again towards the line. Any rain that comes isn’t a problem for him either; he’s versatile in terms of ground and remains competitive. Richard Kingscote back on board is a positive as he knows the horse really well, so Apollo One would be my selection.

At a huge price, one that’s worth throwing in would be Magical Spirit. He loves the mud and although he’s been a little in and out of form this year he does go well at York and the more rain that falls for him, the better. Kevin Ryan’s horses are in pretty good form so at 28/1 he might be overpriced.

I would preference a high draw here – Apollo One in stall 22 up the stand side is a positive – so that’s part of the reason for my selections as well.

Megan’s tip: Apollo One WIN; Magical Spirit E/W

Newmarket 2.40 – Cesarewitch Handicap

I’m going to go with The Shunter as my pick for this race: Emmett Mullins-trained, JP McManus-owned and James Doyle on board which is a positive jockey booking.

This is a horse that’s pretty versatile and has obviously progressed over hurdles and fences and has had some flat runs in the mix as well, albeit over varying trips.

I think the return to a staying distance of 2m 2f for the Cesarewitch could really suit him. It looks like it’s a plan that’s been mapped out, seeing as he’s had a return run in August at Gowran Park over a mile-and-a-half – which would’ve been shorter than his ideal trip – but this seems to have been the plan and a return to this trip would be absolutely perfect.

He also seems pretty versatile in terms of ground so any rain that does fall wouldn’t be an issue. He’s been drawn in stall three so he will be in amongst the hustle and bustle up against that rail but if he can jump and get into a nice rhythm then James Doyle will be able to get space when necessary.

For an each-way horse I’m looking at Typewriter, who is drawn at the opposite end out in stall 27 for Andrew Balding with jockey Callum Hutchinson claiming 3lbs.

She’s 28/1 at the moment but this horse stays forever and going back up to 2m 2f will also really suit her. Callum seems to get a tune out of her too – she ran really well for him last time at Goodwood – while again ground doesn’t really matter as she’s pretty versatile in that respect.

Typewriter is normally a little slow away but from that draw I don’t think it’s too much of a problem, Callum can take his time and try to creep into the race and hopefully she can finish well as she hits rising ground.

Megan’s tip: The Shunter WIN; Typewriter E/W

Chepstow 3.10 – Novices’ Chase (Listed)

A short-price favourite is Knappers Hill, who goes over fences for the first time. He’s actually one of my favourite horses in training – I was lucky enough to ride him in bumpers and managed to win the Grade 2 bumper at Aintree on him in 2021 so he’s always been a firm favourite of mine.

He’s very much been a talented hurdler, he’s been slick over his hurdles and jumping is something that has certainly improved throughout his last two seasons. It’ll be interesting to see how he takes to fences. Reports have been positive but he’s entitled to be a little bit green and to have a good look at the fences on his first start out on the track.

Talent-wise he’s certainly the one they have to beat and, in official ratings, he’s well above the rest. Unexpected Party, who goes for Dan Skelton, has got plenty of experience over fences which might just be a bit of an advantage first time out.

Knappers Hill does go well fresh but the jumping will obviously be the question. No doubt he’s got the ability, he just has to jump well and get into a rhythm.

He should be winning but Unexpected Party definitely looks as if he’s the one that could cause any upsets. Jumping is the name of the game here – I think it will be whoever gets into the best jumping rhythm from the start and whether inexperience or experience is the telling point in the result.

It’s a tricky little race with a small field but it’s exciting to have the jumpers back in action.

Megan’s tip: Knappers Hill WIN

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Odds correct at time of publication but subject to fluctuation

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