Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, picks out four to follow at Cheltenham and Doncaster on Saturday afternoon
BERTIES DREAM (1.20) looks an outstanding bet in the extended three-mile novices’ chase at Cheltenham on Saturday. A shock winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle here in March, Berties Dream boasts invaluable Cheltenham experience, having finished third behind the very useful Tell Massini and Reve De Sivola over hurdles at this fixture 12 months ago. Berties Dream should be cherry-ripe after a recent pipeopener at Galway where he travelled and jumped supremely well before blowing up between the last two fences. He meets some talented rivals here, not least Wayward Prince, who made a winning debut over fences at Huntingdon last month. He was a 140-rated hurdler, posting wins at Aintree and Doncaster, but Cheltenham’s undulations pose a very different examination compared to those flat tracks.
The feature Paddy Power Gold Cup could go the way of Nicky Henderson’s rising star LONG RUN (2.35). His top-class French recruit hammered Tazbar by 13 lengths in the William Hill Feltham Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and headed to Cheltenham with only one more run under his belt, an effortless 13-length romp at Warwick. The step up in class/distance proved just too tall an order for both horse and jockey in the RSA Chase at the Festival, but Long Run is undoubtedly a chaser of enormous potential and he could well outclass his rivals.
Henderson introduces another French recruit, TITAN DE SARTI (12.50), in the opening JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial and the trainer has described his hurdling debutante as ‘extremely sharp’. The weight he receives from previous winners could be vital, with Architrave setting a fair standard after notching up a quick hat-trick for Tim Vaughan.
At Wetherby, MOON INDIGO (3.55) is worth a bit extra in their finale. He was a dual winner for Aidan O’Brien as a three-year-old and now carries the colours of owner Graham Wylie. Moon Indigo has been a bit disappointing since crossing the Irish Sea but can surely build on his runner-up spot at Hexham now that trainer Howard Johnson has found him another suitable opening.