Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up six tips on Saturday at Chepstow, Lingfield and Sandown. View selections below.
VIKING BLOND (3.20) can make the most of his light weight to land the gruelling Coral Welsh National at Chepstow. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ gelding ticks all the right boxes, boasting a course win on heavy ground last year and racing off an attractive mark. Viking Blond was wisely rested after a hard race over 3m 3f (third) at Cheltenham’s Paddy Power fixture in mid-November and he arrives here a fresh horse.
Teaforthree is a logical favourite after posting an impressive victory in the four-mile National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham and A P McCoy’s mount looks sure to play a part in the finish. Last year’s runner-up Giles Cross is up 8lb but usually travels strongly and may make the frame at a nice price.
Whatever the fate of Teaforthree, McCoy and trainer Rebecca Curtis should be on the scoresheet in the bumper with BOB FORD (3.55). The five-year-old son of Vinnie Roe is reported to be a cut above.
The 32Red Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown is always won by a horse with an exciting future. Paul Nicholls has scooped four of the last eight runnings but arch-rival Nicky Henderson is on a hat-trick after the triumphs of Minella Class and Captain Conan. Henderson is doubly represented, by hat-tricking seeking Golden Hoof and ROYAL BOY (2.25), the mount of Barry Geraghty. Royal Boy ran with great promise on his Cheltenham debut and can reverse placings with his conqueror that day, the useful Melodic Rendezvous.
The Henderson/Geraghty combo also hold winning prospects with UNE ARTISTE (12.45). The mare landed odds of 40-1 in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham but won’t be sent off a fancy price to confirm Wetherby placings in October with Alasi.
At Lingfield, CATALINOS DIAMOND (2.00) is recommended in a qualifier for the Blue Square Sprint Series. The mare is a frustrating sort and must be delivered right on the line. Seb Sanders almost rode the perfect race over course and distance on New Year’s eve when beaten on the nod and Catalinos Diamond races off the same handicap mark.
AL’S MEMORY (3.45) lifted a competitive handicap here on Thursday following a frustrating brace of second prizes and is clearly in top form at present. Apprentice Philip Prince’s allowance negates a 6lb penalty.
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