Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips on Saturday at Kempton and Lingfield. View selections below.
RIVER MAIGUE (2.40) looks likely to relish the step up to 2m 5f in the William Hill Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at Kempton. Nicky Henderson has adopted a softly-softly approach with River Maigue, who revealed his potential as a novice by splitting Dodging Bullets and Court Minstrel at the 2012 Paddy Power fixture at Cheltenham. He has won three of his seven career starts, including a wide-margin success here at Kempton when landing the odds on Boxing Day last season. Barry Geraghty’s mount stayed on into third behind Deep Trouble over two miles at Sandown in December and this extended trip should be right up his street.
A good run by River Maigue would be an obvious pointer to the prospects of his Sandown conqueror DEEP TROUBLE (3.50). Leighton Aspell pulled off a gravity-defying rodeo act to stay aboard Deep Trouble when his mount veered violently right jumping the last with a clear advantage and Deep Trouble could well defy an 8lb rise. Lyvius, representing the Henderson/Geraghty team, chased home The Skyfarmer at Cheltenham and looks sure to be in the shake-up.
THE LIQUIDATOR (1.35) puts his Cheltenham Festival credentials on the line in the William Hill Tolworth Hurdle, with Willie Mullins’ Upazo adding spice to an intriguing contest. The Liquidator, a running-on fourth in last season’s Champion Bumper, underlined his liking for Cheltenham by spreadeagling his field on a return visit in November and Tom Scudamore is unlikely to take any prisoners by setting a spanking gallop on this less demanding track.
Lingfield has again attracted some smart all-weather performers and DAME NELLIE MELBA (3.45) catches the eye in the 1m 2f handicap. Mark Johnston’s course runners are always of interest in January and February and Dame Nellie Melba beat an improving type in Returntobrecongill at Southwell in mid-December. The runner-up has since produced a cracking effort behind Fibresand specialist Masterful Act off an elevated rating of 80, so Dame Nellie Melba’s mark of 75 here looks quite mouthwatering. The filly, a winner at Leicester last July, missed an engagement last week to wait for this event.
TINSHU (3.10) has faced some tough assignments in recent months but has been given a great chance in the Coral-backed 1m 2f handicap. Derek Haydn Jones’s mare is just a pound higher than when beating subsequent Winter Derby runner-up Robin Hood’s Bay in a similar event last winter. She wasn’t beaten far in a hot handicap won by Dick Doughtywylie over course and distance and this looks easier.
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