Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Lingfield, Kempton and Warwick and Sandown. View selections below.
VENETIA WILLIAMS has her string in red-hot form and RIGADIN DE BEAUCHENE (3.35) can keep the hot streak going in the 3m 5f Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick.
The French-bred eight-year-old ran into a fast-improving horse in Well Refreshed at Lingfield in mid-December, which came on the back of another solid placed effort at Newbury when stopped in his tracks by a blunder four out. Well Refreshed hosed up by 28 lengths in last Sunday’s ATR Sussex National at Plumpton and Rigadin De Beauchene may have got off lightly by the handicapper.
On a line through Well Refreshed, there is little between my selection and favourite Pete The Feat, who is chasing a remarkable six-timer for Charlie Longsdon. The form of Bradley’s second to Monbeg Dude at Cheltenham was boosted by the winner’s subsequent Welsh National success and he will be a big threat if putting a poor effort back at Cheltenham behind him. Major Malarkey finished fourth in this race last year and remains competitive off a slightly higher mark, while recent scorer Restless Harry may be hard to catch if gifted an easy lead.
The big betting race at Kempton is the William Hill Lanzarote Hurdle over 2m 5f and top weight BEAR’S AFFAIR (2.40) can prove a cut above the rest. Bear’s Affair encountered soft ground for the first time at Aintree in early December but sluiced home by 10 lengths. Nicky Henderson has booked 5lb conditional rider Jeremiah McGrath to ease the burden of 11st 12lb, with stable jockey Barry Geraghty getting the leg-up on lightly-raced Oscara Dara, now reverting to hurdles after finishing second on his chasing debut at Plumpton.
Henderson has also turned to young McGrath to partner another top weight, FORGOTTEN VOICE (3.50), in the concluding hurdle. Formerly a Group horse on the level for Jeremy Noseda, Forgotten Voice has made a spectacular start to his new career, winning both his hurdles races with plenty to spare. He meets some seasoned handicappers this time on testing ground, but class should prevail.
NICEONEFRANKIE (2.05) scored twice during January last year and seems to be running back into form for Venetia Williams judged on an encouraging third at Musselburgh 11 days ago.
At Lingfield, JODIES GEM (2.35) can complete his hat-trick in a tricky little mile handicap. Willie Jarvis’ three-year-old travelled strongly at Kempton a month ago when getting the better of Canadian Run and there should be more to come.
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