Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips on Saturday at Ascot, Lingfield and Haydock. View selections below.
WEIRD AL (3.05) can cause an upset by gunning down Long Run and Silviniaco Conti in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
Weird Al is at his very best when fresh and heavy ground is also in favour of Donald McCain’s talented jumper. Weird Al scooted home in last season’s Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and that race may just have taken the edge off him when only third to Kauto Star and Long Run in this event three weeks later. My selection has only a couple of lengths to make up on Long Run on that effort 12 months ago and, with the track riding very testing, he is the value bet around 6-1.
Long Run, the former Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, is undoubtedly the class act in the six-runner field but has never been asked to compete on ground this testing in Britain (winning form on heavy in France as a four-year-old). Silviniaco Conti was sent off a short price for this year’s Charlie Hall Chase and never gave his supporters an anxious moment as he eased to the front in the home straight. This is tougher but Paul Nicholls’ six-year-old is a player. The Giant Bolster has become one of the most popular chasers in training but seems to reserve his top form for Cheltenham.
SIVOLA DE SIVOLA (2.30) made an encouraging reappearance at Cheltenham last month, running on into fourth place behind Action Master in a competitive handicap. Tom George reaches for the cheekpieces for my selection, not disgraced in midfield behind ill-fated Brindisi Breeze at the Cheltenham Festival, and if all 16 runners stand their ground, he is a solid each-way wager.
Only four go to post for the 2m 3f Coral Hurdle at Ascot, but it’s a classy little affair that should fall the way of OSCAR WHISKY (2.45). Nicky Henderson’s favourite gave 8lb and a beating to Get Me Out Of Here in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham last December and they meet again on level terms. Get Me Out Of Here has race fitness on his side after making a winning return at Kempton and may edge out Raya Star for the forecast.
In Ascot’s curtain-raiser, Nicholls saddles last month’s runaway Fontwell winner EASTER DAY (12.35), who appeared to relish the deep ground after two promising efforts in bumpers on a sounder surface.
The unflatteringly named FAT GARY (12.45) is worth an interest at Lingfield after a fine effort in defeat last weekend. Tom Dascombe’s two-year-old cut out much of the running and this looks slightly easier.
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