Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Warwick and Lingfield on Saturday. View selections below.
FOXBRIDGE (3.35) should go well at juicy odds in the Betfred Classic Chase over 3m 5f on stamina-sapping ground at Warwick.
A three-time Ffos Las winner in the mud at this time last year, Foxbridge will be all the better for his last run (4th) behind The Last Samuri at Kempton’s Christmas fixture. The Betfred Classic was scooped last year by Paul Nicholls’s Hawkes Point, and Foxbridge was only a neck behind that horse when they finished fourth and fifth respectively in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter. Foxbridge has been allotted 10st 6lb, with Jamie Bargary removing 5lb from his back.
Sego Success headed the midweek ante-post lists and Alan King’s gelding jumped with great precision when scoring at Doncaster from Reaping The Reward. A 7lb rise makes life tougher under his big weight. King also saddles Midnight Prayer with an obvious chance, while Nicholls relies on his Kelso scorer Vivaldi Collonges to repeat last year’s stable success.
There is little to separate Algernon Pazham and What A Good Night on their Bangor run, but the former will surely be better suited around here than his hair-raising experience last time when ill at ease over the Aintree fences. Dour stayer Rigadin De Beauchene has been quite well touted but was pulled up in this contest 12 months ago.
Some classy up-and-coming hurdlers clash in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle over 2m 5f, with Willie Mullins confusing the issue by saddling two leading contenders in THOMAS HOBSON (3.00) and Open Eagle. Thomas Hobson’s hurdling technique has been suspect on occasions but the penny seemed to have dropped at Punchestown last time over 2m 4f when he accounted for Gordon Elliott’s Jetstream Jack. A dual 1m 4f winner, at Goodwood and Doncaster, for John Gosden on soft ground last October, Thomas Hobson is marginally preferred over his stablemate.
Open Eagle, a son of Montjeu, made great strides on the Flat for David O’Meara and although firmly put in his place by Altior at Kempton on Boxing Day, he was meeting a top-notch prospect that day. His earlier maiden win at Fairyhouse marked him down as useful in his own right.
A qualifier for the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle final is never easy to unravel but ISAACSTOWN LAD (2.25) makes plenty of appeal. The nine-year-old has mopped up four of his last five starts for Nicky Richards, the only blip coming at Carlisle when falling early in the race won by Grand National hero Pineau De Re. None the worse for that tumble, Isaacstown Lad reappeared six days later at Haydock to hand out a four-length beating to Oscar Blue. A 9lb rise looks quite severe but he is clearly in great heart and handles a testing surface.
BROADWAY ICON (1.45) is strongly fancied to lose his maiden tag at Lingfield. Jeremy Noseda’s colt has let down his backers in the past but this drop in grade should do the trick. He finished runner-up to John Gosden’s well-regarded Amanaat at Kempton and the third and fourth have since won to give the form a nice boost. Broadway Icon sports cheek-pieces for the first time on home soil and should have the measure of Mark Johnston’s Byres Road, a promising second on his Wolverhampton debut behind odds-on With Pleasure.
BOOMERANG BOB (2.20) can complete a fairly quick hat-trick for Jamie Osborne in the Unibet-sponsored six-furlong handicap. His last course victory came at the expense of Mythmaker, Pensax Lad and Shyron, all subsequent scorers, and Boomerang Bob probably has most to fear from Hold Tight, runner-up in a slightly better race over seven furlongs at Lingfield in October.
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