Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Ffos Las, Lingfield and Sandown on Saturday. View selections below.
TANERKO EMERY (2.05) can carry racecourse owner Dai Walters’ colours to a popular victory in the William Hill Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las. The ex-German gelding has been brought along very steadily by David Pipe, recording form figures of 1211 in less demanding company. Tanerko Emery is ready for this step up in class given his latest cosy Lingfield success in mid-December under the steadier of 12st 2lb. Young Conor O’Farrell has struck up a good relationship with the horse and they receive lumps of weight from Oscara Dara. Nicky Henderson’s top weight has been saddled with a 14lb rise following his gutsy Kempton success, when he rallied bravely after an almighty mistake at the last flight.
ALFIE SPINNER (2.40) can bounce back to form in the William Hill West Wales National. Nick Williams’ eight-year-old was sent off favourite for a three-mile handicap at Sandown but could never strike a blow behind rapidly-improving winner Katenko. The handicapper has shown Alfie Spinner some slack, dropping him 4lb, and the gelding is equipped to handle bottomless ground, having scored at Chepstow in the mud last season.
On Sandown’s all-steeplechase card, sponsored by Betfred, Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh may be the A-team to follow. TOUBAB (1.50) has solid claims in the two-mile handicap, having scored over course and distance 12 months ago. On his next start, Toubab was no match for Sprinter Sacre at Aintree but wasn’t disgraced in second. The lightly-raced chaser reappeared on heavy ground at Ascot in November and produced an encouraging run in third behind classy William’s Wishes and Champion Court.
KEPPOLS HILL (3.35) is a proven grinder, as he showed when slogging out victory over three miles in the Chepstown mud four weeks ago. The seven-year-old will require all of his battling qualities if he is to repel more seasoned campaigners here but gets in off a nice racing weight on 10st 5lb.
Lingfield put on a cracking 1m 4f handicap featuring some horses running out of their skins at present, none more so than DE RIGUEUR (4.05). Marco Botti’s five-year-old has won his last two starts at Wolverhampton following a gelding operation and the late-maturing son of Montjeu, who possesses a smart change of pace, can defy another 7lb rise in his rating.
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