Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Sandown, Haydock and Doncaster on Saturday. View selections below.
HADRIAN’S APPROACH (3.50) can bring the curtain down on an amazing season for Barry Geraghty by taking centre stage in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown. Geraghty added an Irish Grand National scalp to his bulging belt on Easter Monday and Hadrian’s Approach boasts solid form claims racing on ideal ground just on the soft side of good. Hadrian’s Approach was well fancied for this race 12 months ago and didn’t fare badly in fifth, despite a blunder two out.
The end-of-season showpiece was a tall order for a six-year-old and Nicky Henderson’s chaser has another season’s experience to call on. Hadrian’s Approach was beaten a nose by Bury Parade at Kempton in November but finds himself a stone better off here. I’m prepared to draw a line through his last disappointing effort behind Holywell at Cheltenham as he is a better horse on a flatter track. Last year’s runner-up Same Difference is nicely treated but doesn’t seem in the same sort of form this year. Burton Port would seal a tremendous season for Jonjo O’Neill and Tony McCoy and rates a threat.
With the first Classic looming next weekend, the flat boys will be keen to build up a betting bank. Former champion jockey Ryan Moore could be that money-spinner as he heads north for a double-header. At Haydock, Richard Fahey has booked him for KYLLACHY STAR (1.50) and SIR REGINALD (2.20). Dr Marwan Koukash’s Kyllachy Star is a battle-hardened pro who comes here in good nick following his recent second of 13 runners at Pontefract, while Sir Reginald, running in the colours of Channel Four racing’s Jim McGrath, steps up an extra furlong after finishing a running-on fourth to stablemate Flyman at Doncaster’s Lincoln fixture.
The Koukash silks are donned by Jamie Spencer aboard GABRIAL’S KAKA (3.25) in a competitive mile handicap sponsored by Corbettsports and the impressive Newbury Spring Cup winner should make a bold show under a 6lb higher mark. Well drawn near the fence, Gabrial’s Kaka will be switched off early under a trademark hold-up Spencer ride, so the top weight will need some luck in running to weave a passage through.
Moore travels on to Doncaster for a fine book of rides, with Sir Michael Stoute’s ARAB SPRING (7.35) worth the wait in a 16-runner handicap over 10 furlongs. Arab Spring made his debut as a three-year-old at Newmarket last May, finishing second, and wasn’t spotted again until 26 days ago when landing a Kempton maiden with little fuss. Arab Spring is the least exposed runner in the field and looks one to follow in big handicaps this summer.
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