Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Uttoxeter, Kempton and Lingfield on Saturday. View selections below.
HAWKES POINT (3.50) can give Paul Nicholls another significant Saturday scalp in the Betfred Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter. The gelding responded positively to the application of blinkers when landing the competitive Betfred Classic Chase over 3m 5f at Warwick in January. Top weight Shotgun Paddy was held in third, one place ahead of Sixty Something, who was bowling along merrily at the head of affairs in the amateur riders’ chase at Cheltenham on Thursday before falling four out. Lightweights have a tremendous record in this stamina-sapping 4m 1f test and Jonjo O’Neill provides Tony McCoy with a strong favourite’s chance aboard hat-tricking seeking Catching On. Philip Hobbs’ course winner Woodford County is another worth noting off a featherweight.
At Kempton, the 888Sport.com Silver Plate, a handicap hurdle over 2m 5f for horses declared at Cheltenham but balloted out, produced a monster entry which has been slashed to 20 runners. This valuable consolation prize could go the way of ALAIVAN (2.20) representing Jonjo O’Neill and JP McManus. The nine-year-old ran a cracker in a Pertemps Final qualifier at Exeter, chasing home Regal Encore, having been handy throughout. Maurice Linehan takes off 3lb. Martin Pipe saddles ex-French recruit La Vaticane and any market support would clearly be interesting.
888Sport.com also put up the money for a similar event over fences and CANUSPOTIT (3.30) gets the nod. Lucy Wadham’s gelding has rattled up comfortable wins at Fakenham and Huntingdon, and a pretty steep 13lb rise may not stop him completing the hat-trick.
At Lingfield, GRANDEUR (3.05) can regain the winning thread in the Coral.co.uk Winter Derby. Jeremy Noseda’s six-year-old looked a bit ring-rusty after a long break when only fourth to Grendisar in their trial but Ryan Moore wasn’t hard on his mount. With that run under his belt, Grandeur can ease out Grendisar, Charlie Appleby’s Tryster (chasing a four-timer) and Cloudscape, the mount of Frankie Dettori.
Appleby holds another winning opportunity in the Coral-sponsored 1m 4f handicap courtesy of NEW YEAR’S DAY (4.50). The Godolphin gelding cut down Kings Bayonet close home at Wolverhampton in the manner of a horse on an upwards curve.
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