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Wright moves into pole position in naps race

Rob Wright of The Times surged into a useful early lead in the 2021 Napchecker Naps Challenge, thanks to a February return of 21.2 points. His overall balance is 24.2 points, more than 13 points clear of second placed Spotlight (Racing Post) who moved up from sixth following a 7-point gain.

The Mirror’s Newsboy, who led the table after the first month of action, slipped back to third after a narrow loss, but his 2021 nap strike-rate of 35% remains the best on the market.

Wright called correctly on eight occasions Wolverhampton victor, Blue Cable, leading the way. The son of Cable Bay pounced late under Rossa Ryan to score by half a length at a rewarding price of 12/1 (10 February). Evasive Power (6/1, Kempton Park 24 February) also caught the eye, while five of his other six winners were priced between 3s and 4/1.

Spotlight stole second spot in the February listings with a stunning last-ditch effort which saw Clondaw Castle (17/2, Kempton Park, 27 February) and Brewinupastorm (3/1, Fontwell Park, 28 February) turn a losing month into a winning one. Best of five other winning February naps was 7/2 Smokey Malone, successful at Wetherby on 23 February.

The unlucky victim of Spotlight’s recovery was the Sheffield Star’s Fortunatus, whose 6.2-point return was built around a superb four-win sequence between 16 and 20 February which culminated in the 10/1 victory of Donny Marlow at Lingfield.

The Jam Partnership’s Lord Riddiford, an 8/1 winner at Wolverhampton (13 February) and Seeking Perfection (9/2, Newcastle, 5 February) were the main contributors to a 5.8-point February yield by Glendale of The Scotsman. This was a solid month with winners popping up at regular intervals, with just a five-day barren spell mid-month blotting the otherwise impeccable copybook.

Farringdon of the Morning Star posted a 4.8-point return with a six-winner haul that included Young Dev (17/2, Navan, 21 February) and Didero Vallis (15/2, Catterick, 16 February).

After landing six winning naps from sixteen, Marlborough (Telegraph) had high hopes of a top placing, but the last week generated just one further win. Nevertheless, a 2.5-point yield was far from a disaster, particularly as a 30% strike-rate was secured.

There were also indications last month that the 2020 Nap champion, Kevin Walsh (Irish Post), was getting into his stride. Thibault (5/1, Lingfield, 1 February) and Lord Du Mesnil (8/1, Haydock, 20 February) steered Walsh to a 1.8-point return.

The Scout (Express) just missed out on a profitable return, despite an eye-catching 35% strike-rate, while Newsboy also missed out by less than a point.

Nap selections were a disappointment for Robin Goodfellow in February, but the Mail’s correspondent was in much better shape with general tipping. 490 February tips yielded a loss of £70 (settled to SP), a grand effort. Anyone fortunate enough to have backed all selections at the best available price, would have shown a profit of more than £500. As ever, it pays to shop around and take any best odds offers when available.

With the Cheltenham Festival looming and the stampede of top-class racing that is to follow, its encouraging to see so many of the nations’ newspaper tipsters at the top of their game.

Date Published: 05/03/2021