Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Newcastle, Kempton and Lingfield on Saturday. View selections below.
Kerry Lee’s remarkable Midas touch with staying chasers can continue in the Betfred Eider Chase at Newcastle with RUSSE BLANC (2.50) fancied to follow-up his recent power-packed success in the Warwick Classic.
The nine-year-old has been hit with a 12lb rise but he looked a horse to follow when simply smashing his rivals to pieces when taking up the running down the far side at Warwick. There are enough runners to give us four places each-way at odds of around 6-1. Lee waved her magic wand at Haydock last Saturday with Bishops Road and although Russe Blanc has a bit to find with Ballyculla on Bangor form earlier in the season, he may have improved past that rival in the interim.
The feature BetBright Chase at Kempton could also fall to an impressive last-time-out winner in Alan King’s ZIGA BOY (3.35). The grey had the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster in the bag some way from home and an 8lb hike isn’t disastrous as he attempts to make it three wins in a row following another success on Town Moor in December.
Tom Bellamy takes off 3lb and he has twice ridden the seven-year-old to victory, including going right-handed on one occasion at Wincanton.
Colin Tizzard has enjoyed a fantastic season and it is hard to pick holes in Theatre Guide’s brilliant run behind Smad Place in the Hennessy Gold Cup, while Le Reve seems to excel running in a clockwise direction and is another for the shortlist. Again, there are enough runners for an each-way shout, with Ziga Boy trading generally around 11-2.
Next month’s JCB Triumph Hurdle betting market is a bit of a dog’s dinner but GIBRALFARO (2.00) could spring to the head of the market if defying a small penalty in the BetBright-sponsored Adonis Juvenile Hurdle.
The King yard has long been synonymous with inspired Triumph Hurdle tilts and the form of Gilbralfaro’s success over subsequent scorer Connetable at Ascot in January looks the best on offer. Paul Nicholls’ Connetable went on to take the measure of Rayvin Black and Peace And Co at Sandown, with the runner-up landing the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton last Saturday.
There is some classy all-weather action at Lingfield where old favourite GRENDISAR (3.20) can go one better than last year in the Coral Winter Derby.
Marco Botti has won this event three times and Grendisar was only denied 12 months ago by the very smart Tryster. Grendisar has been running better than ever and saw off favourite Festive Fare in the trial here three weeks ago. Stall seven of the 10 runners isn’t perfect but not insurmountable.
There are some real speedballs lining up in the Unibet Hever Sprint and German raider GAMGOOM (1.45) ran a magnificent race in defeat over course and distance earlier this month. Breaking like a greyhound from the outside stall (12), Gamgoom had his rivals at full stretch and looked likely to hold on until course specialist Rivellino appeared late on the scene. Stall seven is a better draw and he will have the edge on race fitness over high-class Muthmir.
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