Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Haydock, Ascot and Lingfield on Saturday. View selections below.
SUN CLOUD (2.40) will be in his element on very testing ground at Haydock and is fancied to land the Tommy Whittle Chase.
Malcolm Jefferson’s eight-year-old has plenty of miles on the clock and his one and only visit to this track came last month when he went down with all guns blazing to David Pipe’s Vieux Lion Rouge. This trip of 2m 6f on heavy ground is ideal for strong stayer Sun Cloud and he can take the measure of Jonjo O’Neill’s less experienced Newbury scorer Spookydooky.
There isn’t much between Scottish raiders Final Assault and Plus Jamais on their Ayr running. Next time out, Final Assault was cruising turning for home in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle only to fade into fourth. This shorter distance will help and on the book he holds Cloudy Too (bad mistake four out).
Top weight Seventh Sky ran well in the Grand Sefton at Aintree, chasing home Bennys Mist, but this will test his stamina to the limit.
At Ascot, The Ladbroke has attracted 21 runners and PRESENTING ARMS (3.35) could upset the applecart at each-way odds.
Harry Fry has his team in great order and Presenting Arms is on a hat-trick after landing the odds at Wincanton. He was raised 10lb for that triumph but Liam McKenna takes off 7lb.
Presenting Arms thumped Raylin Black by six lengths at Kempton on soft ground last November and through a formline with the runner-up there is precious little between Presenting Arms and favourite Winner Massagot. Fry also saddles Jolly’s Cracked It, a fine third to Nabucco in November, and this fella has been threatening to land a ‘big one’ for some time.
With many bookmakers offering five places Presenting Arms is the shout, with Zarib a more than useful second string to our bow near the foot of the weights. Dan Skelton is another trainer thriving in the National Hunt arena and Zarib was made favourite on his Wincanton comeback when third to Irving. That’s a solid piece of form.
Some top staying hurdlers contest the JLT Long Walk Hurdle and THISTLECRACK (2.25) should have the edge over Saphir Du Rhea, Deputy Dan and Reve De Silvola. Thistlecrack continues to go from strength to strength and always had the measure of Deputy Dan when looming up two out at Newbury. Saphir Du Rhea’s chasing career was put on hold after a fair effort (fifth) in the Hennessy and last season’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle runner-up is sure to be thereabouts.
Reve De Sivola is chasing an amazing fourth straight success in this contest but didn’t fire last time at Auteuil. He will be a different proposition back on his favourite hunting ground and won’t take any prisoners up front. I’m hoping he can help set up the race for powerful stayer Thistlecrack.
PENDRA (3.00) was a most impressive winner on his last trip to Ascot and a 7lb higher mark is unlikely to anchor him in the Sodexo Silver Cup. Charlie Longsdon, yet another young trainer going places, will be hoping Pendra can develop into a top notch handicapper now that he has put some jumping flaws behind him. He has been pitched in at the deep on more than one occasion at the Cheltenham festival but Ascot’s flat, right-handed circuit may better suit Pendra.
At Lingfield, ultra-consistent GRENDISAR (2.20) is a knocking each-way bet in the Coral Quebec Stakes. Marco Botti’s gelding landed some hefty wagers (11-10) when scooping this nice prize 12 months ago and he had likely favourite Battalion behind when runner-up to Let’s Go here in November.
Tom Queally again takes the mount on dual course and distance winner Battalion and will do well to overcome a poor draw in stall 11. The gelding is at the top of his game, however, and holds Energia Davos on their last Polytrack clash.
Compare horse racing odds and bet at the best prices