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THE GRAND NATIONAL IS LOST AFTER DECISION TO SHUT DOWN: Today’s meetings are the last in England until May, the racing authority has announced, so the Grand National is lost. French racing is also shut down. SEE STORY BELOW.


ENGLISH RACING CANCELLED

🇬🇧 British racing shuts down from tomorrow. The Grand National meeting is lost; so, too, the Scottish National, and the Lincoln Handicap and start of the Flat.

Racing behind closed doors continues today but then all racing is suspended until the end of April, taking Flat racing close to its early Classics, the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 2 and 3 but ruling out the Classic trials usually held at the Newmarket Craven meeting.

The decision followed the government’s new advice against assemblies of people which were announced yesterday.

The British Racing Authority declared: “This is a national emergency the like of which most of us have never seen before. We’re a sport that is proud of its connection to rural communities and to the local businesses that support our industry.

‘But our first duty is to the health of the public, our customers and to racing industry participants and staff so we have decided to suspend racing following the government’s latest advice’.

🇫🇷 FRANCE: All race meetings in France have been cancelled from today until April 15.

🇮🇪 IRELAND: Irish racing has so far continued without spectators. With pubs and clubs closed in Ireland today, St Patrick’s Day is muted, but Wetherby in North Yorkshire raises a glass to Happy St Patrick’s Day (4.55 race), launching its card with a fervent ‘Enjoy The Craic.’

Like Down Royal and Wexford, there will be no paying public at Wetherby and Taunton, the last English race meetings until May.


PLAYA BLANCA BACKER

⭕ 2.15 Taunton Mille Sussurri put in a promising debut over hurdles at Exeter last time out when third to Jack Valentine and a reproduction of that effort could be good enough to land this opening maiden which looks below par by course standards.

However, at around evens in the market, he doesn’t make much appeal and Finisher (7.3 on BETDAQ at the time of writing) looks an attractive alternative. The Mick Gillard trained runner put in a really good round at Wincanton last time out when a 12 lengths second to Fidelio Vallis.

There were positives to take out of that race. He was badly hampered at the first and would have finished a lot closer to the winner who went on to win a much stronger event at Kempton at the weekend. The form looks solid enough and arguably stronger than that of the favourite.

Song Of The Hunter has plenty of Point experience but will need to show a lot more than he did on his Rules debut at Wincanton when down the field in a bumper.

⭕ 4.00 Taunton Playa Blanca is taken to land the hat-trick.

No surprise to see trainer Seamus Mullins get him out again quickly after his facile win at Market Rasen on Sunday by an eased down 24 lengths! The statutory 7lb penalty will be considerably less than his future handicap mark!

Tactical Manoeuvre is also in cracking form and bids for a four-timer here – his last two wins have come over course and distance. He’s up another 4lb but is sure to still be very competitive and looks the big danger.

Dalaman showed more last time out on his second start for Rebecca Curtis stable who are still fresh from their Stayer’s Hurdle win at Cheltenham last week with 50/1 chance Lisnagar Oscar.

⭕ 4.55 Wetherby Espoir Moriviere has been costly to follow having been a beaten favourite twice in his last three starts and trainer Rose Dobbin is 0-12 from her recent runners.

In contrast, Kim Bailey is 5-20 and can strike here with Pond Road who ran a cracker behind Project Mars at Huntingdon last time out.

DAQMAN’S BETS (staked to win 10 points)
BET 1.5ps win and 7.1pts place FINISHER (2.15 Taunton)
BET 7.6pts win (nap) PLAYA BLANCA (4.00 Taunton)
BET 5.0pts win POND ROAD (4.55 Wetherby)


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