Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Newbury, Doncaster, Kelso and Lingfield on Saturday. View selections below.
CARRUTHERS (2.40) returns to the scene of his memorable 2011 Hennessy Gold Cup heroics and is fancied to roll back the years in the Veterans’ Chase at Newbury. There is still plenty of petrol in the tank judged on his second to Shotgun Paddy in Warwick’s 15-runner Classic Chase in January and 5lb claimer Nico de Boinville gets a good tune out of the old boy. Shotgun Paddy has been installed second favourite for the four-mile National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham, so the form of that last run looks rock solid.
The feature event at Doncaster is the William Hill Grimthorpe Chase over 3m 2f and MONBEG DUDE (3.30) can use this tight handicap as a springboard to Aintree and a tilt at the Grand National. The former Coral Welsh National winner jumped with assurance at Cheltenham when thumping Theatre Guide on good ground before Christmas, quickening readily to lead at the last and power up the hill. The nine-year-old has been raised 8lb but arrives here a fresh horse after missing Haydock’s gruelling Grand National Trial last month. Further down the weights, course winner Court By Surprise should also go well for Emma Lavelle.
There is some competitive racing at Kelso where CLEVER COOKIE (3.05) can defy a hefty 14lb rise in his handicap mark in the Scoop6 Premier Hurdle. Peter Niven’s stable star has form figures of 112211 from his six career starts and looked ominously good when sauntering clear of Local Hero at Musselburgh last month. This longer 2m 2f trip could well bring about even more improvement and Clever Cookie rates a serious wager.
On the same card, JET MASTER (2.30) can continue Nick Alexander’s hot streak by landing the 2m 1f handicap chase. The eight-year-old was just denied by Swift Arrow on a previous visit to the Borders track in November and has since found only classy Witness In Court too strong at Musselburgh.
At Lingfield, LITIGANT (4.35) emerges from an 84-day break but Seamus Durack is sure to have him wound up for the 32Red Conditions Stakes. The six-year-old continued his upward curve with a comfortable success over 1m 5f when last seen at Wolverhampton and the extra yardage of this two-mile Class 2 event shouldn’t be a problem, especially with master tactician George Baker in the saddle.
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