Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Cheltenham and Wetherby on Saturday. View selections below.
PRESENT VIEW (2.30) can come out top in another cracking renewal of the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham. The first major chase of the season invariably falls to a rising star and Present View put down a marker at the festival in March when landing the novice handicap over this intermediate trip. A recent outing over hurdles, when pipped by Vicente, will have blown away the cobwebs and Jamie Snowden’s ex-Irish pointer wins the vote over another progressive type in Buywise, fifth behind Present View in March. Last year’s hero Johns Spirit scored again over course and distance last time out but is up 17lb from 12 months ago. Nearer the foot of the weights, the enigmatic Ericht has the ability to go close if his jumping holds up. This event became synonymous with the Martin Pipe yard and son David, who saddled 2011 winner Great Endeavour, unleashes a dark one in Easter Meteor.
Pipe will have his string spot-on for the weekend and KINGS PALACE (1.15) can make a winning chasing debut. He was a very smart hurdler, combining staying power and a useful turn of foot, and has scored first-time out in the last two seasons. His four rivals all arrive here on the back of victories and this promises to be a fascinating little contest.
Few would begrudge Neil Mulholland a change of luck after the unfortunate, but inevitable, disqualification of Wincanton scorer The Young Master and the talented trainer could enjoy a timely pick-me-up courtesy of THE DRUIDS NEPHEW (1.50) in the extended 3m 3f handicap chase. This will be a real slog in the mud and my selection made mincemeat of a small field at Huntingdon last month, always travelling strongly and jumping accurately under Tony McCoy. A 9lb rise makes life tougher but The Druids Nephew is another progressive sort.
Grand National hero Pineau De Re reappears under top weight in the 3m 1f Listed handicap hurdle but this could go the way of recent Cesarewitch winner BIG EASY (3.00). Philip Hobbs’ seven-year-old is lightly raced over hurdles but scored over course and distance in April 2013 and races here off an identical mark.
At Wetherby, SHOULDAVBOUGHTGOLD (2.05) can defy a 7lb penalty for a recent wide-margin romp at Carlisle under James Reveley. He meets some classier rivals in the totescoop6 the Millionaire Maker Handicap Chase but appears ahead of the handicapper.
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