Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Ascot, Haydock and Lingfield on Saturday. View selections below.
LIGHTNING CLOUD (3.50) has a fine record over Ascot’s seven-furlong track and Kevin Ryan’s northern raider should again acquit himself with credit in the wide-open Betfred Victoria Cup.
My selection finished fifth in the race 12 months ago and ran a stormer in the process. Lightning Cloud, drawn in the middle, edged towards the stands rail and although leading his group home, all the late action was unfolding on the other side of the course. With a high draw this time, the five-year-old will again plough a furrow up the near side and, hopefully, any bias may be his favour this time. Lightning Cloud also led his group home in a 26-runner handicap over course and distance in October, finishing a close third to Jack Dexter, and it will be disappointing if he isn’t in the firing line once again.
Last year’s Derby runner-up, Main Sequence, makes his seasonal reappearance in the 1m 4f Listed event and his presence should ensure slightly better odds are available on THOMAS CHIPPENDALE (2.40). Sir Henry Cecil’s four-year-old won the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot in the summer and will strip a bit sharper for his run in the Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown last month when hunting up impressive Al Kazeem.
Lingfield’s Derby and Oaks trials are trappy little affairs and, looking elsewhere, LILY’S ANGEL (4.00) must go close in the Betfred Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes. A winner for Ger Lyons in Dubai this winter, Lily’s Angel crossed the Irish Sea to beat Stirring Ballad at Kempton last month and she probably has Sir Michael Stoute’s consistent Ultrasonic to beat in this 7f Group 3 event.
Elsewhere on the Lingfield card LOWTHER (4.35) is well worth an interest. The old boy was trapped wide for most of the race when third to Mia’s Boy here on the all-weather last month but continues to run well off his exposed handicap mark. The stalls are positioned in the centre of the track for this one event but Lowther is well berthed in nine if his jockey elects to edge over to the favoured stand rail.
Feature race on Haydock’s traditional mixed card is the Swinton Hurdle but my sole recommendation is GREGORIAN (4.05) in the 7f Listed contest. William Buick heads north for a few plum rides and Gregorian will welcome any rain at the Lancashire venue. First time up is the best time to catch John Gosden’s quirky customer, who scored on his debut at Newbury last year before running his best race when third in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. He looked a bit dodgy at Hamilton and Salisbury in the autumn but is probably at the very top of his game when fresh.
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