Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips on Saturday at Cheltenham and Doncaster. View selections below.
NO BUTS (2.00) has the profile of a young chaser going places and looks primed to give a good account of himself in Cheltenham’s eagerly-awaited Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.
Trainer David Bridgwater has wasted no time in fast-tracking No Buts after his mightily impressive victory at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting, when his slick and accurate fencing put his rivals to the sword down the home straight. This is more competitive but the manner in which he dismissed previous Sandown scorer Sound Investment suggests No Buts can serve it up to ante-post favourite Caid Du Berlais. The handicapper has given Paul Nicholls’ gelding every chance of supplementing last month’s thrilling Paddy Power Gold Cup success by allocating Caid Du Berlais a lenient-looking 5lb rise. Old favourites Pegwell Bay, Senor El Betrutti and Exotic Dancer were able to complete the Cheltenham double, so Caid Du Berlais would be joining illustrious company. Attractively-handicapped Barrakilla must also come into the reckoning but progressive No Buts wins the vote.
STARS OVER THE SEA (12.15) can maintain his unbeaten record in an intriguing JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial. David Pipe’s juvenile will need to brush up his jumping come the hurly-burly of the Cheltenham Festival in March but this small field will not place the same demands on his occasionally ropey hurdling technique. Undoubtedly, there is an proper engine under the bonnet and Stars Over The Sea has powered to victory at Kempton and Ludlow, leaving the distinct impression he was a shrewd purchase out of the Mark Johnston yard. Alan King always produces at least one top-class juvenile every campaign and Karezak will have his supporters, along with northern raider Mr Gallivanter and Nicky Henderson’s Hargam.
CHAMPAGNE WEST (12.50) looked an exciting prospect over fences for Philip Hobbs when readily accounting for frustrating but talented stablemate Colour Squadron at the Paddy Power meeting. Fourth in the Albert Bartlett in March, Champagne West can make his mark in the strong novice chase division this season.
At Doncaster, FIRST MOHICAN (1.05) is possibly best caught fresh and he warmed up for the bet365.com Handicap Hurdle by winning a charity race at Barbary Castle point-to-point last Sunday by 15 lengths. First Mohican was being talked up as a potential Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner last season before slightly losing his way and he should be able to see off another useful dual-purpose horse, Kashmir Peak.
ROBBIE (11.55) can help bolster the day’s betting bank by landing the bet365-sponsored handicap chase. Keith Reveley’s gelding has become something of a Town Moor specialist and his latest course success 25 days ago received a sizeable boost when third home Wakanda ran out at 10-length winner at Kelso last Sunday.
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