Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Ascot and Haydock, on Saturday. View selections below.
LINCOLN (3.45) could run a huge race at tempting odds in the totescoop6 Victoria Cup at Ascot. Mick Channon’s four-year-old is a keen-going sort and his high draw (25) should allow him to bowl along up the stands’ rail. The gelding enjoys an 8lb pull with recent Haydock conqueror Emell and boasts winning form on a straight track, having landed a competitive Class 2 handicap at Doncaster last September. Buckstay is better than his last run, while Zarwaan travelled strongly on his return, hinting the drop to 7f would be ideal. Russian Realm, previously in the care of Sir Michael Stoute, has his first run for David O’Meara, who also saddles So Beloved.
In the opening 1m 4f handicap, PENHILL (2.00) makes his debut for Luca Cumani having scored three times last season for James Bethell. He is reported to have shown up well on the home gallops and the four-year-old will appreciate some cut in the ground. Penhill wins a narrow vote over Forgotten Hero, a course winner in the summer over a shorter trip. Forgotten Hero’s fourth to Collaboration at Epsom was made to look better when the winner hosed up at Chester and he did well to get so close having been well adrift turning out of Tattenham Corner. King Calypso was in great form last term and looked as if he would come on for his return at Windsor. Similarly, Oasis Fantasy shaped promisingly on his Thirsk reappearance.
WINTER THUNDER (2.30) enjoyed a real love affair with Newmarket last season, winning three of his five career starts but there’s no reason why the Godolphin colt cannot be just as effective away from HQ. Winter Thunder ended the season on a high, edging out Fire Fighting in October off a mark of 105. The grey is only 4lb higher here and should improve past the likes of Rawaki and Red Galileo.
On Haydock’s interesting mixed card, THE PLAN MAN (3.25) should go well in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle. Trainer Tony Martin hit the crossbar with Quick Jack in the Chester Cup in midweek and The Plan Man is turned out again fairly quickly after unseating his rider in the big handicap won by Some Article at the Punchestown festival. The Plan Man had finished a close-up fourth to the same horse previously at Fairyhouse and the in-form yard bagged a double at Down Royal on Monday. Top weight Cheltenian, a gutsy winner of the Scottish Champion Hurdle, will do well to follow up from his 7lb higher perch but is clearly in great heart.
FIRMAMENT (2.15) had three runs in maidens last season, signing off with a victory at Newbury in October. Jeremy Noseda’s colt has plenty of scope for improvement and an initial rating of 85 should make him competitive. Tadqeeq has failed to get his head in front this year, but first-time cheekpieces could well do the trick.
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