Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Newbury and Newcastle on Saturday. View selections below.
LORD WINDERMERE (3.00) can strike a rare blow for Ireland in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. Jim Culloty, the man who steered Best Mate to three Cheltenham Gold Cups, was back in the hallowed winner’s enclosure in March, this time as a trainer, after Lord Windermere’s success in the RSA Chase.
Lord Windermere would emulate the mighty Denman, Trabolgan and Bobs Worth, who all made a successful reappearance in the Hennessy after lifting the RAS Chase, and Culloty reports Lord Windermere’s preparation has ‘gone like clockwork’. Any rain would be a bonus and Dougie Costello has come in for a terrific ‘spare’ after the unfortunate eve-of-race injury to regular rider Robbie McNamara.
David Pipe took a leaf out of dad Martin’s book by landing the 2008 renewal with 25-1 chance Madison Du Berlais but Our Father will trade at much shorter odds. Our Father is best fresh, having scored first time out in the past three years, and is well worth consideration, along with Rocky Creek and Hadrian’s Approach.
The other feature race on saturday, the Stan James-sponsored Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, looks at the mercy of My Tent Or Yours but on an interesting support card HEY BIG SPENDER (2.40) will go off at much bigger odds in the At The Races Rehearsal Chase. Cue Card was Colin Tizzard’s ace in the pack last weekend and Hey Big Spender can give the trainer another big Saturday scalp, especially as his stable veteran bids to follow up his 2012 success in this race from a 10lb lower perch here. My selection made a satisfactory return at Aintree and should be cherry-ripe.
Tizzard also saddles a likely lad at Newbury in the shape of HANDY ANDY (1.20) in the bet365 handicap chase. Handy Andy posted a comfortable course victory last December and looked as good as ever when winning the amateur riders’ chase at Cheltenham’s Open meeting a fortnight ago.
The bet365 handicap hurdle has also attracted a big field and SHOTAVODKA (1.50) is worth an each-way investment to give the in-form Pipe yard another nice prize. Kieron Edgar takes 7lb off his back and Shotavodka, a course winner in March when beating Changing The Guard, ran as well as ever when playing second fiddle to Stepped Out at Bangor 11 days ago.
The handicapper has fairly clobbered NEXT SENSATION (3.35) for wide-margin victories at Plumpton and Newcastle, but the Scudamore boys have a most progressive chaser on their hands. He faces a tough test against the likes of recent Cheltenham winner Anay Turge but is a young chaser on a roll.
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