Racing on Monday in the UK and Ireland comes from Taunton (1.40-4.45pm), Navan (1.50-4.55) and Southwell (2.00-5.05) – the first of four consecutive days of National Hunt racing only before the start of the official Flat season.
The Grade 2 Webster Cup Chase is the feature race at Navan today and our nap is a Ted Walsh runner who is looking to win this 2m 4½f contest for the second time in his career.
Horse racing predictions today – Navan, Taunton and Southwell
Enda McElhinney’s picks for Monday are below. Scroll down to read the expert analysis behind them.
Odds correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.
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Horse racing predictions: Navan 3.25
ANY SECOND NOW won this race by 10 lengths in 2021 but last year trainer Ted Walsh opted instead to run him in a hot renewal of the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse, which he won by a nose.
This is the time of the season when the 11-year-old starts producing his best form. You can almost put a line through what he produces in the first half of the campaign, those outings being used to help him shake off the cobwebs.
Third in the Grand National two years ago and second in 2022, his connections will be hoping that progression continues with victory in the big race at Aintree next month. Before then, he can add another graded success to his name against what looks like weak opposition here.
Selection: Any Second Now @ 11/10 with Paddy Power
Horse racing predictions: Taunton 3.15
DOCTOR KEN was in excellent form in the early stages of the season, winning in November on his seasonal reappearance in a Class 3 handicap at Aintree (2m 4f, good to soft).
Olly Murphy’s runner had to settle for second a few weeks later at Ayr (2m 4½f, soft), but the form of that race has worked out well with the horse that beat him, Gold Cup Bailly, subsequently winning from a 6lb higher mark.
The seven-year-old has not appeared since November but that should not be a concern. He runs well fresh, so his 111-day break should have helped him to recharge his batteries and in what will be just his third outing as a chaser, he remains open to improvement over fences.
Selection: Doctor Ken @ 6/4 with Paddy Power
Horse racing predictions: Southwell 4.05
PRESENTING BELLE failed to finish on her first two starts under Rules in January, being pulled up on her debut at Hereford (2m 5½f) and again at Huntingdon (2m 4½f).
It was quite clear from those two performances that there was something wrong with her breathing and the six-year-old mare had wind surgery that month. On her return last month, she produced a far better performance to finish second behind a smart Mel Rowley runner at Huntingdon (2m 4½f).
Lucy Wadham’s runner now makes her handicap debut and, if she can build on what she showed last month, she will have a great chance of getting off the mark. She carries top weight here but it does not look to be a particularly strong contest so her class is likely to show.
Selection: Presenting Belle @ 9/2 with Paddy Power