Former Talksport man Charlie McCann looks at Saturday’s Lingfield card and has a few tips for Sunday. View Selections below
With Sandown already abandoned it might be prudent to concentrate on turf racing in Ireland and the all-weather racing from Lingfield for our preview.
The mile handicap is a fascinating race with any number of in-form horses and the 2008 Lincoln winner Smokey Oakey having his first stat on an artificial surface since October 2006!
Prince Of Burma has been a revelation since fitted with blinkers but he has a poor draw and this is a much better race than his latest success over C&D for which he is 7lbs higher. There is very little pace in the race but, in the hope that Amitola makes it a true test, I give the nod to the veteran Titan Triumph (3.00) who has been knocking on the door of late.
Falcon’s Reign will be a short-price to improve on his promising effort at Wolverhampton (winner has followed twice in selling company) but the filly Palmyra (4.05) was noted making late headway at Kempton on debut and is sure to know more this time. Trainer David Simcock has been among the winners already this week and the can upset the Jeremy Noseda trained hotpot.
Exemplary is arguably better over further and both he and Status Symbol look sure to make the 12f handicap a true test and this could play into the hands of First Avenue (3.35) who, despite being 1lb out of the handicap, looks sure to have a strongly run race which clearly suits.
Punchestown are optimistic of staging Sunday’s meeting which sees 2011 Champion Chaser Sizing Europe lock horns again with the 2010 winner and last year’s runner up Big Zeb (2.55). The latter gets the nod with the forecast heavy ground swaying me towards the 11-year-old who did actually get his revenge on Sizing Europe at Punchestown back in May.
Sizing Europe was brilliant at Sandown in the Tingle Creek back in December but is, arguably, better on faster ground and whatever the result on Sunday Sizing Europe remains the one to beat at Cheltenham next month.
Allure Of Illusion (1.20) is another likely to be seen at his best on faster ground but Willie Mullins will be hoping to get a win into the horse before stepping up in grade. Do note that he is also entered for Saturday’s Fairyhouse meeting but that card is, at the time of writing, unlikely to go ahead.
Scotsirish (3.55) is one of a number of entries Willie Mullins has for the Grand National in the spring but he should be up to taking the PP Hogan Memorial Chase with the weights very much in his favour.
If Fontwell gets the go ahead Pocket Aces travelled well last time but he is a better horse on good ground, and Mortimers Cross (3.10) jumped for fun over further last time and can follow up albeit over an 11lb higher mark.
If Musselburgh passes its 7am inspection on Sunday Keys (2.00) who is doubly-entered at the Festival ought to win for Nicky Henderson. The selection caught a tartar in the shape of cinders And Ashes at Aintree back in December and the Lambourn trainer goes in search of faster ground.
Creekside (3.00) looks a good thing in the feature Scottish Triumph Hurdle having impressed at Catterick on debut although Henderson also saddles the German import Lyvius who is only 33s for the Triumph despite never having jumped a hurdle in public