Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Aintree and Sandown on Saturday. View selections below.
SIRE DE GRUGY (3.00) can profit from superstar Sprinter Sacre’s disappointing defection from Sandown’s BetVictor Tingle Creek Chase. The strapping second-season chaser looked sure to make a winning reappearance until nailed close home by enigmatic Kid Cassidy at Cheltenham last month and he showed a liking for Sandown when whipping former champion two-mile chaser Finian’s Rainbow and Wishfull Thinking in the Celebration Chase over course and distance in April. Nicky Henderson has a ready-made understudy to Sprinter Sacre in the shape of Captain Conan, who took Sire De Grugy’s scalp in the Arkle Trial at Cheltenham as a novice, and his young chaser poses a serious threat along with seasoned campaigner Somersby. The latter lowered the colours of Cue Card no less at Exeter and the drop to two miles shouldn’t be an inconvenience.
TAQUIN DU SEUIL (1.50) is an exciting young chaser for Jonjo O’Neill and Tony McCoy in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase. After a facile victory at Ffos Las on his chasing debut, Taquin Du Seuil held Oscar Whisky at bay at Cheltenham. He gave My Tent Or Yours a fight at Ascot over hurdles and ran away with the Challow Hurdle at Newbury last December.
Rarely a weekend goes past without seeing Henderson and Barry Geraghty in the winner’s enclosure and WHISPER (1.20) made a most encouraging first start to his campaign at Cheltenham’s Open meeting last month, finishing third to Thomas Crapper in a field of 20 runners. Whisper signed off last season with an impressive win over Valdez, who has made such an exciting start to his chasing career, and he should go well in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.
Jumping aficiandos are in for a treat, with across-the-card action over the Grand National fences at Aintree. Willie Mullins has already thrown down the gauntlet to British trainers by declaring his intent to make regular trips across the Irish Sea this winter to plunder top UK races and ON HIS OWN (2.05) has sound prospects of scooping the Betfred Becher Chase. After falling on both previous track visits, it’s stating the obvious that he comes with risks attached but On His Own appeared to enjoy the experience when bowling along in the vanguard of the 2012 Grand National until exiting at Bechers second-time round. The Irish raider again jumped well in last year’s National until weakening and departing at Valentines on the second circuit. On His Own is 4lb lower here and any rain in the Liverpool area would be welcome. Conversely, David Pipe’s Swing Bill would prefer a sound surface and the veteran grey likes this track.
Another Irish challenger, YOU MUST KNOW ME (3.15), is an interesting runner in the Betfred Grand Sefton. Henry De Bromhead’s young chaser undoubtedly lacks some of the experience of his older rivals but is a classy type. He was beaten only half a length by Boston Bob in a Beginners’ Chase at Navan last December and, on his most recent outing at Naas, was sent off favourite but could finish only fifth to Road To Riches. However, the winner is a smart prospect and fourth horse Golanbrook scored at Clonmel on Thursday. At the foot of the weights, Stormin Exit could go well at a loud price, having finished eighth in the Topham Trophy off a much higher rating.
Compare horse racing odds and bet at the best prices