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Keith Melrose
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Horse Racing betting tips: Captain Tom has Silver Trophy claims at 7/1

The ITV cameras are showing action at Cheltenham and Newmarket on Wednesday and Keith Melrose from the Racing Post has picked out a trio to follow. 

Its day two of the bet365 Craven Meeting at Newmarket as they get up to speed at Headquarters in the first meeting of the new season. 

1.30 Cheltenham

Captain Tom Cat @ 7/1

1pt each-way

2.25 Newmarket 

Aphelios @ 8/1

1pt win

3.00 Newmarket

Bold Act @ 10/3

1pt win

Tom Cat can leave punters purring

Captain Tom Cat should be backed each-way in the opening Silver Trophy (1.30). He has dropped from a mark of 145 to 128 in five chase starts this season, but served notice there was another decent prize in him off his reduced rating when rallying strongly to a length defeat at Plumpton behind Gary Moore's rapidly improving chaser Black Gerry.

That came on soft ground, as did Captain Tom Cat's previous run, and the switch to a quicker surface can provide the catalyst for another success.

The Dr Richard Newland-trained eight-year-old tends to run well at Cheltenham. He has form figures of PF331 at the track, but the 'P' came in a top-class handicap in November, in which he never took to first-time blinkers and a made a bad mistake which ended his chance behind progressive types Amarillo Sky, Fugitif and Grey Diamond, who were each receiving weight and are rated much higher now. 

The 'F' came when Captain Tom Cat came down at the last in a Grade 2 novice chase won by Third Time Lucki, when he was booked for second at the time.

With Luke Catton's 7lb claim factored in, this former Grade 2 winner will be receiving at least 6lb from every rival and the weight difference can tell. 

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Young sprinter set to shine

The Weatherbys Digital Solutions Handicap (2.25) at Newmarket has quite a few four-year-olds in it who may have a big day or two in 2023. 

Aleezdancer has fitness on his side, but also incurred a rise for showing himself progressive at Doncaster a couple of weeks back. The ground is not so testing here and it may be that another improver gets their turn now.

I would nominate Aphelios, partly because he is somewhat more likely to be fit and he remains with as much potential as Orazio or Leap Abroad. 

His connections are famed for knowing how much a race is worth, and this £40,000 handicap is well worth winning. 

He is also a strapping sort who may well have developed physically as well as mentally for going from three to four. 

With some attractive formlines behind him from his three-year-old days, he looks one to take seriously on his reappearance.

Appleby and Buick can land the Feilden

The bet365 Feilden Stakes (3.00) is a Classic trial these days, albeit more readily associated with Epsom than Newmarket given that its most famous winner in recent years was 2015 Derby, Eclipse and Arc winner Golden Horn.

The Gosden-trained Intinso has a somewhat similar profile to that recent great and is unsurprisingly popular in the early market. However Bold Act has a lot more solid form to recommend him, is still progressive and has relevant experience on the Rowley Mile, so looks the more appealing option at a bigger price.

Bold Act took a big step up when readily winning a nursery here in September off a mark of 92. 

That on its own might have qualified him for a tilt at a Listed prize, but he has also shown himself to have trained on by winning at Chelmsford 18 days ago. 

Having fitness, form and William Buick on his side is a strong combination and Bold Act should be capable of cutting down the admittedly promising Intinso's hype.

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