Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, picks four to follow on Saturday at Sandown and Nottingham. Selections
Ferdy Murphy prepared Hot Weld to scoop the Scottish Grand National/Bet365 Chase (then called the Betfred Gold Cup) inside a week back in 2007 and the Yorkshire trainer clearly had the same in mind for POKER DE SIVOLA (3.10).
Unfortunately, his plan was scuppered when Poker De Sivola was hampered and made a premature exit at Ayr last Saturday but he remains on course for the big Sandown prize. Stamina is not a concern as Poker De Sivola landed the four-mile National Hunt Chase at last year’s Cheltenham festival and he arrived at Ayr on the back of an encouraging, if unconventional, comeback run in the Cross-Country race at Cheltenham. Poker De Sivola revels on this good ground and he is trading at much more tempting odds than favourite Baby Run.
DICK TURPIN (3.45) would ideally prefer more juice in the ground but looks a worthy jolly in the Bet365 Mile. Fast ground didn’t prevent him running a stormer in last season’s Stan James 200 Guineas when making Makfi battle right to the line and his class should prevail.
AFSARE (4.20) made a whirlwind start to 2010, scoring at Newmarket and Doncaster, but he wasn’t spotted in public after completing his hat-trick in the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot. Luca Cumani’s four-year-old remains an exciting prospect and the Group 3 Bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes can be the ideal springboard to another successful campaign.
On Nottingham’s evening card, AMISTRESS (8.00) returns to the scene of her recent battling victory over Standout and a 5lb rise may not anchor this progressive daughter of Kalanisi.