Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Newbury and Doncaster on Saturday. View selections below.
BALLYGARVEY (3.25) at a working man’s price could be the answer to a tricky StanJames.com Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury. Philip Hobbs’ nine-year-old should appreciate a return to 2m 4f after his one-paced fourth to Brick Red over a shorter trip at Sandown last month. Ballygarvey had previously battled on well to fend off Ulck Du Lin at Ascot before Christmas and is a three-time winner over this distance on heavy ground at Lingfield, so any more rain will not be a problem. Paul Nicholls is seeking to continue his domination of this event by saddling top weight Sound Investment, a classy type who found three miles stretching his stamina last time at Ascot. Previously, Sound Investment had continued his steady progression by despatching Dolatulo at Sandown and is clearly a big player.
WEST END ROCKER (2.15) is no slouch for a 13-year-old and is primed for a big run in the Betway-sponsored Veterans’ Chase over an extended 3m 2f. Alan King’s senior citizen has winning form at the Berkshire track, handles deep conditions and drops in grade after finding Warwick’s Classic Chase a tad too competitive. West End Rocker had earlier scored at Lingfield and should be battling it out up the long straight with another old favourite, Monkerty Tunkerty, and young upstart Soll (only 10!), a winner at Exeter on his first start for David Pipe and sporting first-time blinkers here.
ALBERT BRIDGE (2.50) can defy a penalty for last Saturday’s Chepstow victory in the Ladbrokes Supporting Greatwood Handicap Hurdle. A soft-ground specialist, Albert Bridge fairly sluiced home from Rock On Rocky at the Welsh track and Emma Lavelle’s 10lb-claiming conditional rider Richie O’Dea retains the mount. Talented First Mohican has been let down by some sloppy jumps in recent outings but will be a force to be reckoned with when that frustrating deficiency is ironed out.
NIGHT IN MILAN (3.45) can boost his Crabbie’s Grand National claims by landing back-to-back runnings of the BetBright Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster. The last five winners have carried 10st 12lb or less, but Night In Milan runs the south Yorkshire track so well that he can buck that trend under 11st 10lb. He loves to bowl along on Town Moor and the prevailing good ground is right up his alley. This year’s renewal looks slightly weaker, on paper at least, and Night In Milan warmed up for the defence of his crown by running an excellent third to If In Doubt here last month. The handicapper has left his rating untouched and Night In Milan can concede weight to Drop Out Joe (Davy Russell a good booking) and Aachen.
GLINGERBURN (3.00) can extend his unbeaten sequence to five in the valuable totescoop6 Premier Kelso Hurdle. Nicky Richards’ seven-year-old is making up for lost time, having missed a whole season after showing ability in the bumper sphere. He put useful tool Hawk High firmly in his place in the Morebattle Hurdle over course and distance and is fancied to follow in the hoofprints of last year’s similarly progressive sort, Clever Cookie. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ southern raider, useful four-year-old Bristol De Mai, should help make the market.
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