• Thu 8 Dec, 2016
  • 16:08 GMT
  • 12:08 ET (GMT-4)
  • 18:08 CET (GMT+2)

Charlie’s Weekend Whispers

Former Talksport presenter Charlie McCann casts his eye over the horses and marks your card for Newbury and Doncaster.

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Big Fella Thanks won the Greatwood Gold Cup last year en route to finishing 4th in the National and is only 3lbs higher as he bids to follow up at Newbury this afternoon. He is sure to have his supporters but at a bigger price I like the look of Fine Parchment (3.00) at 12/1 with victorchandler.com for Charlie Mann. A son of Presenting drying ground won’t be a concern and in a wide open event he is just favoured over Plein Pouvoir another lurking near the foot of the weights.

Greatwood Gold Cup: ¼ odds 1,2,3,4: prices from
Ikorodu Road 6
Big Fell Thanks 7
Swing Bill 8
Sahir Des Bois 8/1
Prince de Beauchene 10/1
Tail Of The Bank 10/1
Fine Parchment 12/1
Niche Market 12/1
Panjo Bere 12/1
Mathui 12/1
16s Bar

Ruby Walsh made a welcome return to the saddle at Newbury yesterday and he can have a winner courtesy of Rangitoto (4.10) just touched off on his British debut at Ffos Las having won a point-to-point in Ireland previously. He looks a decent staying chaser in the making for Paul Nicholls and is not likely to be over faced this season.

A cracking card at Doncaster today with the feature Grimthorpe Chase seeing a number of Cheltenham Festival and Grand National candidates putting their credentials on the line.

With little rain forecast the ground is likely to be on the fast side of good and although there must be concerns about his jumping the selection is Always Right (3.15) who could be called the winner some way out at Kelso last time. He has been raised 12lbs for that effort but the ground will hold no fears and if he has ironed out the jumping errors that blotted his copybook previously at the Borders track he must go close in a cracking renewal of this valuable and prestigious event.

Ogee has been waiting for fast ground and ought to win a big race between now and the end of the season and Presenting Forever caught a tarter at Cheltenham last time. He has been raised 7lbs for that effort but he is another who can bounce off the underfoot conditions.

Grimthorpe Handicap Chase: ew 1/5 1, 2, and 3: prices from
Presenting Forever 7/2
Always Right 11/2
Ogee 6/1
Meanus Dandy 6/1
Killyglen 6/1
10s Bar

Lidar (3.50) went off a short price for the Aintree Bumper a couple of years ago but much to my chagrin was just touched off. He has yet to reach those heights over hurdles but there ought to be no excuses this afternoon and he merits the weekend nap.

Today’s better ground will help but it will also benefit Drive Time who looked such a promising novice when scoring here back in January. His flat form certainly reads very well but we are on a roll with our naps and Lidar gets the nod for Alan King and Choc Thornton.

Montbazon (4.25) lost little in defeat on his debut at Kempton where I felt he should have been awarded the race in the stewards’ room. He can be another for the powerful King/Thornton combination in the following 18-runner bumper.

Rivaliste (5.35) has yet to fulfil his early promise for Paul Nicholls, running in the Best Mate colours of Jim Lewis, but he remains open to improvement and is considered a leading contender for the Grand Annual at the Festival later in the month. If that entry is not to be considered fanciful he must go close in today’s closing handicap chase.

There is a fascinating five-runner Chase at Kelso including Ballabriggs (3.40) who is currently at the head of many lists for the Grand National. His stablemate Cloudy Lane fell at the first in the corresponding race two years ago but this looks an ideal prep for Aintree for last year’s Kim Muir Chase winner.

There is a terrific Hunter Chase at the Borders track where Quotica De Poyens can maintain his 100% record at the track for his local trainer. Viking Rebel was once considered a top-class prospect for Nicky Richards but he has lost his way in recent years. That said he showed clear signs that he retains much of his old ability and the booking of Oliver Greenall suggests a bold bid is expected.

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Charlie

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