Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Newbury and Kelso on Saturday. View selections below.
SPARTAN ANGEL (2.35) can give Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty success in the EBF National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle Finale at Newbury. This Listed contest, restricted to fillies and mares, is always a competitive event and Spartan Angel is one of several unexposed types. Indeed, the seven-year-old hasn’t been spotted since before Christmas when chasing home David Pipe’s Batavir at Ascot. Batavir followed up next time at Wincanton off 125, so Spartan Angel doesn’t look harshly treated on a rating of 118. A winner of both her bumper races, Spartan Angel dotted up at Worcester in June and looks sure to appreciate decent ground.
Carruthers would be a popular winner of the Ultima Business Solutions Silver Jubilee Handicap Chase and the former Hennessy hero looks sure to go well for the Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning partnership of Mark Bradstock and Nico de Bionville. Tony McCoy replaces regular partner Thomas Garner on hat-tricking seeking Financial Climate but a chance is take on IKORODU ROAD (3.10). Twice placed in decent company at Doncaster this winter, a first-time visor replaces cheek-pieces in a bid to sharpened him up. Drying ground would be to his advantage and he boasts a course and distance victory back in March 2012.
LIL ROCKERFELLA (3.45) was a winner on the Flat at Newbury last August but has yet to hit the target after three attempts over obstacles. However, Neil King’s gelding has ran into some smart juveniles, registering placed efforts behind Devilment (twice) and Pain Au Chocolat. Four of his 11 opponents race from out of the handicap proper and Lil Rockerfella can get off the mark in the Doom Bar Hurdle.
The Channel 4 cameras are at Kelso for the Class 2 Thakeham Hurdle over 3m 3f and RACING EUROPE (2.50) should be in the mix for Brian Ellison. The six-year-old ran a cracker behind Bygones Sovereign, Run Ructions Run and Aqalim in a competitive Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle qualifier at Haydock in mid-February.
HARRY THE VIKING (2.15) possesses stamina in abundance and the 3m 2f Liz Adam Memorial Handicap Chase looks tailor-made for Sandy Thomson’s gelding. Harry The Viking has ran into Lie Forrit the last twice (Haydock and Kelso) but lost nothing in defeat. Major Malarkey trounced Railway Dillon by 30 lengths in a hunters’ chase on his last visit to the Borders track and should go well from a 3lb higher mark now reverting to handicap company.
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