Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, picks out five to follow at Ascot and Lingfield on Saturday afternoon
NOBLE ALAN (3.10) makes the long haul from Cumbria to Ascot on Saturday with leading prospects of scooping a nice pot in the Carey Group Handicap Chase.
Nicky Richards’ seven-year-old made mincemeat of Gringo and a ring-rusty Kalahari King at Kelso earlier this month and remains a well handicapped horse. Noble Alan was cherry-ripe that day after a lovely pipe-opener over hurdles at Ascot when hunting up the useful Australia Day and Katchit and his fencing at Kelso was quick and accurate. The northern challenger prefers a sound surface, so any significant rain would be a negative.
MASTER MINDED (2.05) has something to prove after his lacklustre effort in the Queen Mother Champion Chase but this seems a very suitable starting off point. His last visit to Ascot resulted in a 17-length victory over Petit Robin in January and the 2m 3f trip shouldn’t inconvenience Paul Nicholls’ star.
ZAYNAR (2.35) can mop up the Coral Hurdle for the second year running before going on to better things. His third to Binocular and Khyber Kim in the Champion Hurdle was outstanding form for a five-year-old and sets a high standard for Ashkazar, Restless Harry and One In The Dark to match.
At Lingfield, the Ladbrokes Churchill Stakes looks within the reach of Clive Brittain’s NIDEEB (3.05) judged on his runaway Kempton success. He likes to sit in off a strong pace and with the likes of free-running Suits Me in the line-up, this won’t be run at a crawl.
On Sunday, the totesport Becher Chase is always a thrilling spectacle and Scottish National hero MERIGO (1.45) looks just the type to take to the Grand National fences.