Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Haydock and Ascot on Saturday. View selections below.
LOCH BA (3.30) has been the subject of sustained market support at big prices and still represents each-way value in the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock.
The ground will be bottomless and Loch Ba gets in here with a nice racing weight, having been dropped 2lb for his fourth to Shotgun Paddy in the Betfred Classic at Warwick. Mick Channon’s chaser would have finished much closer if he had avoided a crunching mistake just when the pace was quickening on the final circuit. A previous victory at Newbury over subsequent Coral Welsh National hero Mountainous suggests stamina shouldn’t be a problem. This year’s Welsh National runner-up Hawkes Point is also on my radar but has quite a lot of weight to shoulder.
FLEMENSON (3.30) has developed the winning habit (1121) and could upset better-fancied stablemate Open Day in the Pertemps Network qualifier over three miles. The five-year-old steps into handicap company after ploughing through the Wetherby mud to score with a bit in hand and Maurice Linehan’s 5lb claim is a bonus. Tony McCoy prefers top weight Open Day, off the track since chasing home Hidden Identity at Chepstow last October.
OSCAR ROCK (4.05) disappointed favourite backers at Newbury in December and has been freshened up by Malcolm Jefferson for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. His earlier form, when pipped by Ballyalton at Newcastle and bolting up at Wetherby, wins him the nod over tightly matched pair Wuff and Straidnahanna.
At Ascot, LIKE MINDED (3.15) returns to the scene of his last cracking effort when third to useful duo Saphir Du Rheu and If In Doubt in the William Hill Lanzarote Hurdle. If all 16 runners stand their ground, Dan Skelton’s battle-hardened gelding looks a solid each-way investment. David Pipe saddles three, with progressive Heath Hunter looking nicely treated.
Earlier on the card, Pipe saddles his expensive ex-French novice UN TEMPS POUR TOUT (1.30) who looks ready for a step up to this 2m 3f trip in the Neptune Investment Management Hurdle on the evidence of his second at Haydock.
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