TUNE into course specialist WOGAN (3.20) in Saturday’s feature Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster. Nicky Henderson’s charge loves it around Town Moor and mopped up the novices’ handicap chase on this corresponding card 12 months ago, beating Presenting Forever by six lengths. Wogan returned to the track in early March to lift the Sportingbet.com Grimthorpe Chase off a 9lb higher perch and an outing at Haydock in November, when third to King Fontaine, will have blown away the cobwebs. The ground was a bit sticky for Wogan at Haydock and he is a much better horse on a sounder surface.
It’s Trials Day at Cheltenham, with plenty of Festival clues on display, and BACKSPIN (3.05) is worth close examination in the Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle. He is unbeaten in three starts for the JP McManus/Jonjo O’Neill axis and was particularly impressive at foggy Newbury last time out when romping home eight lengths clear of Court In Motion. The runner-up came out to spreadeagle his field at Warwick a fortnight later, so the form looks rock-solid.
Only seven runners go to post for the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial but a tricky little contest may fall to LOCAL HERO (12.55). He is on a hat-trick for Tony McCoy after posting victories at Doncaster and Wetherby and has yet to come off the bridle.
At Lingfield, WILFRED PICKLES (12.50) can finally lose his maiden tag in a weak opener. The five-year-old has finished second on no fewer than seven occasions, the most recent over course and distance in late November when run out of it close home by Final Drive. Wilfred Pickles produced another solid course effort when fourth to progressive Buaiteoir nine days ago and this could be his day in the sun.
DREAM OF FORTUNE (3.30) is another handicapper who struggles to get his head in front but he runs the track well. This hold-up performer has twice had the misfortune of running into the in-form Edgeworth at Lingfield recently but will appreciate this drop into slightly lower grade, especially with front-running Eton Fable likely to set a brisk gallop.