Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Cheltenham and Doncaster on Saturday. View selections below.
IRISH CAVALIER (1.50) travelled like the best horse in last month’s Paddy Power Gold Cup before wilting on the cruel Cheltenham climb to the line but compensation may await in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.
His rider probably kicked for home too soon but Irish Cavalier was swinging along two fences out before emptying quite quickly into fifth. The six-year-old comes with a slight risk, however, as the Rebecca Curtis stable has been under a cloud (attributed to a bad batch of hay) but Irish Cavalier has scoped clean. He can been expected to be a bit sharper for his last run and has shown a liking for Cheltenham, landing the novices’ handicap chase at the festival with a sweeping late charge.
Annacotty, Buywise and Sound Investment finished in front of my selection in the Paddy Power but the handicapper has nudged them up a few pounds, with Irish Cavalier and close sixth Art Mauresque racing here off the same mark. Art Mauresque remains an improving five-year-old and is preferred as an each-way alternative to Newbury scorer Little Jon (sixth behind Irish Cavalier at the festival and held on a line through Upepito).
Richard Johnson prefers his Wetherby and Musselburgh scorer Village Vic over Philip Hobbs stablemate Champagne West and his mount is nicely weighted on some good hurdles form.
Annacotty rates a big danger but I hope to see Irish Cavalier turn the tables on Alan King’s horse under a more restrained ride.
PEACE AND CO (3.00), last season’s top juvenile, defends his unbeaten record in the StanJames.com International Hurdle. Nicky Henderson will be praying everything goes to plan on his comeback, with Peace And Co very much in the Champion Hurdle picture.
His narrow but fairly comfortable verdict over Top Notch in the JCB Triumph Hurdle was given a nice boost when his stablemate went down to Identity Thief with all guns blazing in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle.
Progressive Old Guard, the dual Cheltenham winner this season, could take full advantage of a fitness edge but he meets stronger opposition without the services of 7lb claimer Harry Cobden.
Choosing between THE GOVANESS (3.35) and Broxbourne in the staying handicap hurdle was something of a toss-up, with the top weight getting the nod. The Govaness already holds a verdict over the tough mare, travelling strongly and quickening clear on a previous Cheltenham sortie in April.
Broxbourne didn’t mess about at Aintree last time, making all to beat Our Kaempfer and Shutthefrontdoor, but similar aggressive tactics may once again set up the race for The Govaness.
Blue Buttons landed some big bets in the mares’ hurdle at Wetherby on Charlie Hall day but is held by The Govaness and Broxbourne on their Cheltenham run.
At Doncaster, BOSS DES MOTTES (3.15) will appreciate slightly better ground in the bet365 handicap hurdle. The Skelton team continue to rack up the winners and their four-year-old gets in here with a featherweight.
Boss Des Mottes had to carry 11st 10lb when no match for classy Baron Alco at Fontwell and three weeks earlier he again ran with credit behind Tea In Transvaal at Chepstow. He often struggles slightly to get home but Doncaster’s flat track favours speed horses.
Three-time course and distance winner ROGER THORPE (2.15) could well defy a 6lb rise in the Ladbrokes-sponsored handicap on the Fibresand at Southwell. The top weight knuckled down bravely to reel in Le Deluge last month, having chased home handicap snip Tiger’s Home three weeks earlier. There is plenty of pace around him and Roger Thorpe usually finishes his races strongly.
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