Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Chepstow, Kempton and Wetherby on Saturday. View selections below.
MIDNIGHT PRAYER (2.35) looks heaven-sent in the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow. Alan King gave his nine-year-old a pipe-opener in the Hennessy at Newbury four weeks ago and lack of peak condition eventually told down the straight as Midnight Prayer faded into ninth. The gelding is 8lb better off with top weight Shotgun Paddy, despite inflicting a defeat on Emma Lavelle’s charge in the four-mile National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham in March. Midnight Prayer boasts winning form on an assortment of ground, including soft and heavy, so any rain falling on the Welsh border won’t be an inconvenience. His weight of 11st 4lb means Midnight Prayer must buck the recent trend of winners coming from nearer the foot of the handicap, but Tom Bellamy’s 5lb claim may prove invaluable. Philip Hobbs’s dour stayer Gas Line Boy, a winner at Exeter and Haydock in recent weeks, headed my shortlist until the assessor handed him a potentially crippling 15lb rise for his latest success. He could still run into a place, while past winners Monbeg Dude and Mountainous look likely to be in the thick of the action once again.
KAREZAK (1.55) should give a very good account of himself in the Coral Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle. The King yard usually have a good youngster lined up the Cheltenham Festival and Karezak edged out today’s principal rival Golden Doyen in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham in October. Karezak was fitted with a first-time visor when conceding 3lb and just outpointed by Nicky Henderson’s odds-on shot Hargam on his most recent outing and King reaches for blinkers this time. Karezak also meets his Newbury conqueror Old Guard on 6lb advantageous terms and that just swings the vote.
DEPUTY DAN (3.10) looked a novice to follow when lowering the colours of talented Far West at muddy Plumpton in November but was then taken out of his comfort zone when encountering a sounder surface behind Saphir Du Rheu at Exeter. This handicap shouldn’t prove so onerous.
BALDER SUCCES (1.40) can atone for some slightly disappointing efforts in defeat by bagging the William Hill-sponsored Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton. He has three lengths to find with Hinterland on their Tingle Creek running but a blunder two out finally put paid to his chances that day. Balder Succes has twice had a rear view of classy God’s Own this season but, in his arch-rival’s absence, the race could pan out better this time around.
At Wetherby, Mick Easterby’s SAINTS AND SINNERS (1.30) can complete a seasonal hat-trick in the William Hill Novices’ Chase. The six-year-old reeled in Like Minded over course and distance three weeks ago, backing up his earlier Doncaster success. Both wins came on soft ground and he should have the edge over Nicky Henderson’s Golden Hoof if there is rain around.
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