Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips on Saturday at Newbury and Newcastle. View selections below.
ALAN KING went close to scooping a huge Saturday pot with Walkon in the Paddy Power Chase at Cheltenham a fortnight ago but HOLD ON JULIO (3.10) can go one better in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
The former hunter chase winner made a fast start for his new trainer last season, rattling off a pair of impressive victories at Sandown before a moderate effort in the JLT Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. However, Hold On Julio probably wasn’t at his very best that day, having just recovered from a bout of coughing, and is attractively treated here on a perch of 10st 8lb following a recent pipe-opener.
RSA Chase winner Bobs Worth is a popular favourite for Nicky Henderson and must go close, along with RSA Chase runner-up First Lieutenant. The Irish raider is only one pound better off but comes here in peak fitness after chasing home Kauto Stone at Down Royal. The drying ground is to his advantage and First Lieutenant makes each-way appeal.
Henderson saddles a promising ex-French recruit, MA FILLEULE (12.50), in the mares’ hurdle. She made a winning start for the stable at Haydock just over four weeks ago and the four-year-old looks destined for a successful season.
In the concluding Sportingbet Chase, red-hot GUS MACRAE (3.40), winner of three of his last four efforts, can continue his money-spinning sequence. Rebecca Curtis has him at the top of his gamne and 10lb claimer Patrick Corbett kept a very cool head to score with something in hand at Ascot.
The StanJames Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle has attracted only four runners, but it remains a tricky event to weigh-up. CINDERS AND ASHES (2.20) enjoyed a marvellous novice season, highlighted by his success in the William Hill Supreme Novices Hurdle. Donald McCain’s star holds third-placed Trifolium, who was beaten out of sight on heavy ground at Punchestown last month. The biggest threat should come from Triumph Hurdle hero Countrywide Flame, who ran a terrific race in defeat in the Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket. Locally-trained Bothy will love the deep ground and, although the outsider, cannot be dismissed readily.
Lucinda Russell, buoyed by the news this week that JP McManus has joined her burgeoning cast of owners, saddles QUINDER SPRINGS (12.35) in the SIS Live Handicap Chase. This three-mile trip may suit better than recent respectable efforts over shorter distances and Quinder Springs scored twice on soft ground, at Cartmel and Uttoxeter, in the summer.
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