Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Aintree and Sandown on Saturday. View selections below.
CHANCE DU ROY (1.30) can continue his love affair with Aintree by repeating last year’s triumph in the Betfred Becher Chase.
Philip Hobbs’ gelding has also finished second in a Topham Trophy and ran sixth in the Crabbie’s Grand National, and clearly comes alive when sent north to Liverpool. Chance Du Roy held off Baby Run 12 months ago after a thrilling tussle from the elbow and although consequently higher in the handicap this year, his precision jumping is always worth a couple of lengths. Further down the weights, Saint Are and Master Neo, third and fourth behind Sam Winner and The Druid’s Nephew at Cheltenham last time, should figure along with Irish challenger Goonyella.
PERSIAN SNOW (3.15) could give the Hobbs yard a notable double by landing the Betfred Grand Sefton Chase over the shorter 2m 5f (plus 100 yards) trip. The eight-year-old reappeared at Cheltenham’s October meeting, posting an excellent second to course specialist Johns Spirit, so it was a huge disappointment that he failed to build on that initial foray with a lacklustre effort in the Paddy Power Gold Cup the following month. Persian Snow scored twice at Warwick last season on soft ground, so underfoot conditions are ideal. With 16 runners declared, an each-way investment is the order of the day.
The Hobbs bandwagon can just keep on rolling courtesy of MOUNTAIN KING (2.05) in the Betfred Mobile Handicap Hurdle. The five-year-old, a three-time winner in his first season, took a big step up in class at Ascot last month but showed plenty of promise in sixth behind very easy winner Sign Of A Victory. Mountain King had earlier run fourth to Roman Flight at Cheltenham and is making steady progress.
If two televised races over the Grand National fences don’t stir the blood you should be out doing the Christmas shopping, and there are some devastatingly exciting races elsewhere to bolster armchair punters’ entertainment.
In Sandown’s 888Sport Tingle Creek Chase, DODGING BULLETS (3.00) is suggested as the ew alternative to the big two in the betting, Balder Succes and God’s Own. Dodging Bullets has a little bit to find on official ratings but he should relish attacking the Railway fences down the far side. Dodging Bullets travelled strongly at Cheltenham before giving way to the very smart Uxizandre and left the impression he may have needed that pipe-opener. He goes well right-handed and dished out a 10-length whipping to Grandouet at Kempton last Christmas. God’s Own and Balder Succes will have their own band of followers and I expect God’s Own to confirm Exeter form, despite renewing rivalry on worse terms.
HOME RUN (1.20) can throw in the odd poor run but seems in particularly good heart at present. David Pipe’s six-year-old bids to go one better than last year when chasing home Paul Nicholls’ cracker Saphir Du Rheu in the Pertemps Network qualifier. Home Run would probably have scored at Market Rasen on his seasonal debut but for clipping heels before the penultimate flight, but showed he was none the worse for that experience with a splendid third to Nicholls’ unexposed Silsol and the Nicky Henderson-trained favourite Hammersley Lake at Newbury last Saturday. Home Run is rated 4lb lower than 12 months ago and Kieron Edgar takes off 5lb. JP McManus’ talented maiden Cup Final is probably the principal threat.
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