Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Cheltenham and Lingfield on Saturday. View selections below.
RAJDHANI EXPRESS (2.30) can get Nicky Henderson quickly back on track in another competitive renewal of the Paddy Power Chase at Cheltenham. Connections are still trying to get to the bottom of Long Run’s flop in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby but a much better showing is expected of Rajdhani Express, a winner of a similarly rough and tumble handicap at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Champion trainer Henderson hasn’t hit the target in this event since Fondmort in 2003, but the stable is in good nick and Sam Waley-Cohen rode a winner on Thursday wearing his pioneering cycling-style aerodynamic ‘silks’. Rajdhani Express ended the season on a high at Ayr’s Scottish National meeting and second-season chasers have lifted nine of the last 10 runnings of the Paddy Power. During that decade, Nigel Twiston-Davies has scored twice (Imperial Commander/Little Josh) and course winner Astracad could well outrun his big price.
The opening JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial is always an intriguing event, with several Festival aspirants seeking to put down early markers. ROYAL IRISH HUSSAR (12.40) could start the Henderson bandwagon rolling, with the ex-Aidan O’Brien inmate bidding to rattle off a hat-trick. His latest emphatic victory at Wetherby stamped him as a useful recruit.
There is some excellent all-weather action at Lingfield where HAWKEYETHENOO (3.10) could well outclass his rivals in the Listed Golden Rose Stakes over six furlongs. Jim Goldie scooped a big prize with Jack Dexter last weekend and his illustrious stablemate ran a cracker last time when chasing home Dungannon. This will be his first try round a bend, but Graham Lee should be able to take up a stalking position from stall eight of the 12 runners.
Another Listed contest, the Coral Churchill Stakes, is often plundered by the three-year-old division and SUGAR BOY (2.35) can make his third start for Marco Botti a winning one against some seasoned handicappers. Sugar Boy has struggled to recaptured the form of his excellent victory over Eye Of The Storm and Galileo Rock in the bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown in April, when trained in Ireland by Paddy Prendergast, but this is his easiest assignment for some time.
BUSTER BROWN (11.50) is one for early birds. Since slamming his rivals at Wolverhampton, Buster Brown has joined Gary Moore from James Given, and he bypassed a midweek engagement at Kempton.
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