There is a busy day of racing in England and Ireland on the penultimate day of March with five jumps meetings and a solitary Flat card.
The National Hunt fare is from Taunton (1.30-5.00pm), Hexham (1.35-5.05), Limerick (1.40-5.10), Warwick (1.50-5.45) and Naas (1.57-5.22), with all-weather action from Wolverhampton (5.30-8.30).
Our Thursday nap represents an in-form trainer and jockey bidding for more success at Taunton.
Horse racing predictions today – Taunton, Naas and Wolverhampton
Enda McElhinney’s picks for Thursday are below. Scroll down to read the expert analysis behind them.
Odds correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.
You can find the racecard for the 2023 Grand National here.
Horse racing predictions: Taunton 2.40
Harry Cobden enjoyed himself at the Cheltenham Festival and he remains in form with eight winners from his last 35 rides giving him a 23 per cent strike-rate. He teams up here with Robert Walford – a trainer who is also in form with a couple of winners from only seven starters in the past fortnight.
ART DECCO brings the pair together and he continued his race-by-race improvement over fences in January when getting on the scoresheet at Fontwell (2m 2½f, good to soft). He spread-eagled the field, making smooth progress to pick up the running at the second last and win by seven lengths.
He’s rated 7lb higher now but could have more progress up his sleeve and the booking of Cobden is a plus. He stayed three miles when third at Uttoxeter on New Year’s Eve so stamina should not be an issue over 2m 7f here.
Selection: Art Decco @ SP with Paddy Power
Horse racing predictions: Naas 3.07
Noel Meade has booked Cheltenham Festival-winning claimer Liam McKenna for the steer on NUCKY JOHNSON in this novice hurdle over an extended two miles and it could be a handy 5lb he takes off.
This gelding showed promising bumper form last April behind Absolute Notions and made a winning return in that code at Fairyhouse in October. Switched to hurdles at Galway soon after, he was third behind smart performer Three Card Brag, who was fifth in the Albert Bartlett in the Cotswolds this month, with Sandor Clegane splitting them.
That was a pleasing start and he landed a maiden hurdle at Punchestown next time, getting the verdict in the stewards’ room after the first past the post, The Big Doyen, had caused interference late on. Third that day was Hunters Yarn, a Listed novice winner since for Willie Mullins. Back from a break now and with McKenna’s valuable claim, Nucky Johnson looks well placed to bag this prize.
Selection: Nucky Johnson @ SP with Paddy Power
Horse racing predictions: Wolverhampton 5.30
BASCINET won over course and distance (1m 6f) at the start of this month, recording a third victory of 2023 for Mia Nicholls, before being well held only four days later at Lingfield under a 5lb penalty when back up over two miles.
This trip is probably optimal for the Helmet gelding and he’s able to return to Dunstall Park now with the assessor having dropped him 2lb, which might be generous.
Though he likes to lead, he maybe did too much early on in that race at Lingfield, having had to fight for the advantage. Back in an apprentice contest here, he may be able to get a softer lead. He has been very consistent at this sort of trip all winter and, down in distance, could eke out another win.
Selection: Bascinet @ SP with Paddy Power
Looking for more horse racing picks for today’s action?
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