Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Sandown and Ffos Las on Saturday. View selections below.
CHAMPAGNE WEST (2.25) can have the corks popping by landing a tricky little Betfred TV Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown. Philip Hobbs’ seven-year-old has produced plenty of fizz this season, winning his first two starts before finding Ptit Zig too hot to handle in the BetBright Chase at Cheltenham. There was no disgrace in that and Champagne West’s proven stamina can kick in on the climb to the line. Irish Saint ran right away from Thomas Crapper at Ascot and may have found two miles on the sharp side when third to very smart Vibrato Valtat. Only five runners go to post but Splash Of Ginge, Gitane Du Berlais and Grumeti all hold significant claims.
POLAMCO (3.00) looks a worthy favourite in the Betfred Mobile Heroes Handicap Hurdle on the strength of his latest victory at Newbury. Harry Fry’s six-year-old had too many guns for Morito Du Berlais and holds subsequent Lanzarote Hurdle third Saffron Wells, even on these revised terms. At bigger odds, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Imperial Leader returns from a 267-day absence and could get involved on some of last season’s form.
MONBEG THEATRE (4.10) is a highly consistent performer for Jamie Snowden and should make a bold bid to complete a hat-trick when going to post for the Betfred ‘Gamble Aware’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle. A 4lb rise for his most recent success at Towcester isn’t too prohibitive. The gelding is versatile ground-wise, having scored on heavy and sound surfaces.
Conditions will be very testing at Ffos Las and no prisoners will be taken in the 3m 4f Betway West Wales National. Top weight FIREBIRD FLYER (2.40) bids to go one better than 12 months ago, leading between the last two obstacles but finding Emperor’s Choice too strong on the run-in. Trainer Evan Williams has been among the winners this week and 7lb claimer Conor Orr was on top when Firebird Flyer scored with something in hand at Ludlow. Smiles For Miles has won three of his last four outings and clearly has claims, along with Ziga Boy.
The Betway Handicap Hurdle over two miles won’t be quite so attritional and course winner HEATH HUNTER (3.10) is fancied to bounce back to peak form. The blinkers which were applied for the first time at Kempton when sixth to impressive Tea For Two are retained and David Pipe also reaches for a tongue tie this time around.
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