Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Ffos Las, Lingfield and Sandown on Saturday. View selections below.
MOUNTAINOUS (2.40) can add the West Wales National at Ffos Las to his big-race roll of honour, with no fears over the prevailing heavy ground given his battling success in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow in December. Richard Lee’s chaser endured a gruelling race that day but the nine-year-old remains fairly unexposed and should feel right at home back in the dragon’s den. This 3m 4f handicap will be no place for the faint-hearted and Mountainous showed courage in abundance at Chepstow. Alfie Spinner was beaten upwards of 30 lengths when running third to Carruthers in this event last year and could hit the frame once again.
The Welsh Champion Hurdle, run over 2m 4f, looks the perfect opportunity for SAPHIR DU RHEU (2.05) to further showcase his talent. Paul Nicholls’ rapidly improving hurdler is up another 13lb for his barnstorming success in the William Hill Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton but should be able to concede the weight to Whisper. This three-time course winner runs in the colours of track owner Dai Walters and Whisper has been allowed a 16lb pull for finishing around 10 lengths behind Saphir Du Rheu at Sandown in early December.
At Sandown, JUMP CITY (3.35) leaps off the page for the Nicholls yard after chasing home Planet Of Sound at Kempton three weeks ago. The French-bred gelding seemed to appreciate the step up to three miles, plus the removal of headgear, and doesn’t appear badly treated in the Betfred Masters Handicap Chase over that distance.
There are few teams in hotter form than Aidan Coleman and Venetia Williams, which points to PEPITE ROSE (1.50) outrunning her attractive odds in the Betfred Goals Galore Handicap Chase. She fairly scooted up at Wetherby over two miles and found the combination of 2m 4f and a better class of rival counting against her when fading into fourth behind Captain Chris at Kempton last time out.
In the event of a Saturday National Hunt washout, the spotlight would fall on Lingfield’s all-weather fixture and BLUE WAVE (4.05) can complete a quick hat-trick. Mark Johnston’s middle-distance handicappers can improve at a fair rate of knots and Blue Wave falls into that category given the particular ease of his latest success at Southwell.
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