Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips for Saturday over the jumps at Cheltenham and on the all weather at Southwell. View selections below
GREAT ENDEAVOUR (2.30) is taken to confound the handicapper by lifting the Spinal Reasearch The Atlantic4 Gold Cup back at his beloved Cheltenham on Saturday.
David Pipe’s popular grey is in the form of his life, coasting to an eye-popping success over course and distance in the Paddy Power Gold Cup (placed horses Quantitiveeasing and Divers reoppose) before finding the extra distance too onerous behind Carruthers in a thrilling Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
Great Endeavour is now 15lb higher than 12 months ago when chasing home Poquelin in this event and has a bit to find at the weights with third horse Sunnyhillboy. A P MCoy renews the partnership with Sunnyhillboy, who should be sharper for his recent spin over hurdles.
However, Great Endeavour also beat him fair and square here in the 2010 Byrne Group Plate. Paul Nicholls has been making bullish noises about Ghizao and, given his trainer’s huge Saturday following, Ghizao may well go off favourite.
On a magnificent card, OSCAR WHISKY (3.35) can atone for a last-flight tumble at Ascot. Barry Geraghty asked for a big leap as they prepared to tackle Overturn, but Oscar Whisky crumpled on landing.
Nicky Henderson has a smart horse on his hands with Champion Hurdle third Oscar Whisky, whose subsequent victory over Thousand Stars in the John Smith’s Aintree Hurdle was further bolstered by Willie Mullins’ grey’s pulsating triumph in the Ladbrokes Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown, when he demolished the useful Oscars Well and Pittoni.
Good ground has persuaded Donald McCain to let OVERTURN (3.05) off the leash again, a fortnight after his typically courageous victory over Binocular in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
As long as the ground remains decent, he holds every chance in a wonderful renewal of the Stan James-sponsored International Hurdle, with Menorah adding spice now reverting to hurdles after an unfortunate experience over fences at Exeter.
At Southwell, MINORTRANSGRESSION (1.50), twice a course and distance winner last month, makes plenty of appeal in his hat-trick bid under Seb Sanders in the Betfred Goals Galore Handicap.
Dual bumper winner ROYAL SWAIN (2.55) has developed into a fairly useful middle-distance northern handicapper for Alan Swinbank and meets a couple of doubtful stayers/moderate sorts on his Fibresand debut.
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