Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up six tips at Lingfield and Uttoxeter on Saturday. View selections below.
LINGFIELD serve notice that the Flat season is primed to burst into life by hosting the Group 3 Blue Square Winter Derby and PREMIO LOCO (3.30) can repeat last year’s gutsy success. Chris Wall’s nine-year-old battled on well to beat Cai Shen 12 months ago and there should again be precious little between them. Premio Loco was pipped a nose in 2009 by another Richard Hannon/Richard Hughes rival, Scintillo, and has spent the last couple of winters in Dubai. He will be hard to beat back on Polytrack.
Hannon has mopped up the last two runnings of the Blue Square Spring Cup and EMELL (2.55) can complete a notable hat-trick. After hacking up by nine lengths in a Salisbury maiden, Emell contested a Listed event at Doncaster in late October, only capitulating by half a length to Invincible Warrior.
Inevitably, the jumping action suffers a bit of a hangover after Cheltenham but the Betfred Midlands National over 4m1f at Uttoxeter is always a gruelling event. COOL OPERATOR (3.50) will be able to handle deep ground judged on his excellent victory over ill-fated Do It For Dalkey in the mud at Carlisle (3m 2f). On his previous outing, Phil Kirby’s gelding gained invaluable course experience at Uttoxeter by beating Rigadin De Beauchene, a subsequent winner of the Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick.
David Arbuthnot does well with his small string of National Hunt horses and ROCKY ELSOM (2.05) can rack up a hat-trick in the opening novices’ handicap hurdle. The six-year-old hinted at ability when down the field at Sandown behind Tanerko Emery in December and duly won his next two races, at Plumpton and Huntingdon, on soft ground.
THE TRACEY SHUFFLE (3.15) has something to prove after a shocking run at Ayr when sent off a warm favourite. David Pipe’s charge had earlier made Tap Night pull out all the stops over fences and he would be hard to beat if recapturing his form at the Punchestown festival last April when third to Tofino Bay over hurdles.
Donald McCain’s bumper runners are always worthy of a second glance at Uttoxeter and the vibes are encouraging for newcomer WHISKEY CHASER (5.30). As a son of top jumps stallion Flemensfirth, he should handle testing ground.
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