Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Warwick and Kempton on Saturday. View selections below.
HOTGUN PADDY (3.35) can atone for his recent Welsh National flop by securing back-to-back victories in the Betfred Classic at Warwick. The top weight is only 4lb higher than 12 months ago when he put six lengths between himself and runner-up Carruthers, and he will strip fresh having been pulled up early following a blunder at the second fence at Chepstow. Besides mopping up this race last year, Shotgun Paddy ran a cracker in the four-mile National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham, capitulating by a neck to Midnight Prayer. His jumping can be a bit sloppy at times, but this resolute stayer has conditions in his favour. Carruthers enjoys an 11lb pull, plus his jockey’s 3lb allowance, so his huge fan club has good reason to be optimistic. It is probably safe to ignore his recent disappointments, as Cheltenham’s twisting cross-country course is hardly what this relentless galloper needs. Colin Tizzard’s Theatrical Star, running well at Cheltenham until depositing his jockey, could also take a hand at double-digit odds.
MOSSPARK (1.55) is equipped with cheek-pieces for the first time in the Betfred Mobile Novices’ Chase as he bids to recapture his top novice hurdle form of last season. Mosspark lacked the necessary speed to trouble very impressive Wincanton winner Close Touch over shorter last time but this doesn’t look quite so hot an affair. Deputy Dan won over hurdles on this corresponding card last year but hasn’t really cut it over fences this season. More of a threat could come from recent Wetherby scorer Sego Success and bottom weight Mickie, no match for Highland Retreat at Huntingdon but not far behind Shutthefrontdoor and Vintage Star when previously sent off favourite at Carlisle.
At Kempton, TEA FOR TWO (2.40) is at the right end of the weights in the William Hill Lanzarote Hurdle and can further enhance the reputation of young Lizzie Kelly. The 7lb claimer, who has struck up a successful association with popular hurdler Aubusson, has a fine record on Tea For Two, also trained by stepfather Nick Williams. Tea For Two could finish only third to smart sorts Out Sam and Thomas Brown in a tactical four-runner affair at Newbury in late November but the six-year-old is far better suited by a testing end-to-end gallop. He was a smart bumper horse and quickly translated that talent to novice hurdles, scoring at Kempton over this trip and Towcester. Hello George also carries a light burden and Philip Hobbs’ gelding ran well for a long way before back-pedalling into sixth in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot. His ability to see out 2m 5f must be taken on trust but this represents a drop in grade. At bigger odds, Dell’ Arca should go well for David Pipe.
MIDNIGHT APPEAL (3.15) is slowly sliding down the ratings and could upset a few better fancied rivals in the William Hill Bet On The Move Chase. Alan King’s gelding runs the Sunbury track well, finishing only a neck behind Triangular last February before running fourth in the valuable BetBright Chase. Midnight Appeal is 6lb lower now and a repeat of his third to According To Pete at Haydock would see him serve it up to likely favourite Chartreux and well-touted Open Hearted.
DUBAWI ISLAND (3.45) has been well entered up recently and Venetia Williams lets him off the leash in the William Hill Download The App Handicap Hurdle. A smart sort on the all-weather for Jason Tate before joining his new handler, Dubawi Island ran a race full of promise in fourth at Sandown in early November. Winner Exitas was at the top of his game then and Dubawi Island handles testing ground. If all eight runner go to post, he is a maximum each-way investment.
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