Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with eight to follow on Saturday at Uttoxeter and Kempton. View selections below
Uttoxeter sees arguably the strongest renewal of the Midlands National in a very long time with Kim Bailey’s Harry Topper opting to run instead of a tilt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup, conceding upwards of 19lb to the rest of the eighteen runner field.
The drying ground appears to be going against the 7-y-o however and although he has bundles of talent, often struggles with his jumping. Ruby Walsh makes the trip to ride ‘Are Ya Right Chief’ for Willie Mullins however I like the pair of Sun Cloud and Fill The Power.
Sun Cloud (3.50) was going well prior to his fall in the Eider Chase last time out at Newcastle however prior to that had won well at Hexham and Catterick and with the Malcolm Jefferson stable in good form he is well worth another chance.
Sue Smith’s Fill The Power (3.50) is a very interesting runner stepped up in trip for the first time. The 8-y-o was well punted when disappointing at Doncaster but made amends when hacking up at Wetherby last month. The handicapper has put him up 9lb for that run but there could be plenty more to come and he could well improve further over the marathon trip.
Nick Williams’ Aubusson (3.15) goes handicapping after chasing home the smart pair of Red Sherlock and Rathvinden at Cheltenham. His official rating of 135 looks open to improvement and regular jockey Liz Kelly takes off a valuable 7lb and is good value for the claim and clearly gets on well with the animal.
Paddy Brennan and Tom George team up with Gentle Bob (4.25) who has improved with both runs this season in handicap chases and with two runs under his belt should be cherry ripe to get the better of Hollins and Kingcora from an unrevised mark of 114.
There is a cracking card at Kempton with plenty of runners that balloted out of running at the Cheltenham Festival. With his form franked during the week by World Hurdle winner More of That, Special Catch (2.55) can score for the father and son combination of Keith and James Reveley.
He finished third behind More of That at Haydock before scoring easily there on his next start in the most impressive of fashions. He took his chance in the Morebattle Hurdle but ran into two very smart types and a return to handicaps over his preferred trip should see him in a much better light.
Barry Geraghty had a fantastic Cheltenham picking up the plumb rides on Jezki, O’Faolains Boy and More of That but he can score for the boss on Top of the Range (3.30) in the two and a half mile handicap chase.
Nicky Henderson’s gelding makes his first start in handicaps after progressing in novice chases and runs over fences from a 7lb better mark than over the smaller obstacles; he should be competitive
The same combination team up with Oscar Hoof (4.05) who can lower the colours of Alan King’s First Mohican in the two mile novices’ hurdle. The former Warren Place inmate disappointed over course and distance in the Dovecote Hurdle last month and preference is for the Henderson 6-y-o.
Donald McCain’s Hollow Tree (4.00) will never get a better chance to return to winning ways when running in Newcastle’s three mile handicap hurdle from a career low mark.
The stable are in much better form at present and the 6-y-o faces much inferior opposition for the first time in his career in a 0-130 handicap. He had a nice spin around in a jumpers bumper last month and that should have brought his fitness along and blown out the cobwebs