Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Kempton, Newcastle and Fairyhouse on Saturday. View selections below.
NACARAT (3.50) can record back-to-back victories in the Racing Plus Chase and further enhance his tremendous course record at Kempton Park.
Tom George’s popular grey also lifted this prestigious prize back in 2009 and, just for good measure, was placed in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Throw some excellent efforts in the King George over course and distance into the mix and there is every reason to believe Nacarat is no back number, even at the age of 12. He is at his best on good ground and, after a dry week, conditions should be perfect for an action replay of last year’s wide-margin romp. Hat-trick-seeking Wyck Hill and Rolling Aces have dominated the ante-post market, but Roberto Goldback is suggested as the each-way alternative in the belief that decent ground will see him recapture his old zip. He is back down to a mark similar to the one he scored off at Ascot in November.
Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson go toe-to-toe yet again at the big Saturday fixture but Alan King may spoil the party in the Racing UK Adonis Hurdle with L’UNIQUE (2.05). She was a comfortable course and distance winner last month and, in receipt of an invaluable fillies’ allowance, may have the measure of Irish Saint, Vasco Du Ronceray and Chris Pea Green. All four juveniles are trading around 20-1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, so we are set for an informative contest.
Nicholls may have the answer to the Pendil Chase over 2m 4f, with GRANDIOSO (2.40) just preferred to Molotov. Grandioso seems to be going from strength-to-strength and he pulled 37 lengths clear of his rivals at Ludlow 17 days ago. Molotov ran out a winner on heavy ground at Warwick a forthnight ago. His previous effort in the three-mile Feltham Chase, when fourth to Dynaste, suggests he is better at this shorter trip.
Colin Tizzard racked up a treble last Saturday, spearheaded by stable star Cue Card, and he saddles one of the stable’s lesser lights, MILARROW (1.30), in the opening 2m 4f handicap chase. Milarrow, runner-up at Wincanton last time, has been struggling to find his peak form on unsuitably testing terrain this winter but he was a good winner on a sounder surface at Fontwell last March. The six-year-old could upset a few more fancied rivals with conditions turning in his favour.
The Betfred Eider Chase is the feature of an interesting card at Newcastle and the 4m 1f marathon will take its toll on forecast soft ground. Irish raider TARQUINIUS (2.55) should not be inconvenienced, having scored in the Fairyhouse mud on New Year’s day. Gordon Elliott’s 10-year-old almost defied a 10lb rise in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park, going down by a head to Jadanli. Hopefully, that tough race won’t have left its mark. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ recent Wincanton winner Rhum should go well off the minimum weight.
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