Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Uttoxeter and Kempton on Saturday. View selections below.
Jim Dreaper can land back-to-back Betfred Midlands Grand Nationals at Uttoxeter, this time with improving eight-year-old SIZING COAL (4.10).
Drying conditions should suit this son of Presenting, a highly creditable third in last year’s Irish Grand National and, more recently, third of 16 behind Jury Duty at the end of February at Navan.
Dreaper, successful 12 months ago with another eight-year-old, Goonyella, has given Sizing Coal the ideal prep for this extended 4m 1f test and this is clearly a horse that thrives with the blossoming of spring.
Ryan Hatch and Nigel Twiston-Davies collaborated for a terrific RSA Chase success with Blaklion and they go to war with Cogry, an excellent third to classy Taquin Du Seuil and ill-fated Niceonefrankie at Warwick.
Tom Scudamore and Colin Tizzard, still on cloud nine following Thistlecrack’s awesome World Hurdle victory, team up again at Uttoxeter and lightly-raced JUSTATENNER (2.25) steps into a handicap for the first time.
Justatenner showed promise in bumpers and his fourth to Harry Fry’s hotpot Space Oddity at Taunton was an encouraging effort. The five-year-old steps down in trip and should be on the premises in the Betfred-sponsored novices’ handicap hurdle.
Gordon Elliott, so much in evidence at Cheltenham this week, saw VERCINGETORIX (3.15) eliminated from his festival target but compensation may be at hand in the Silver Plate at Kempton, a 2m 5f handicap hurdle.
My selection ran well (seventh) behind dead-heaters Jolly’s Cracked It and Sternrubin in The Ladbroke over course and distance and again finished on the heels of the principals when sixth to Blazer at Leopardstown. This looks a slightly lower grade of contest and the five-year-old Dylan Thomas gelding may well improve encountering a sounder surface.
Another Flat-bred hurdler BRAIN POWER (2.05) could land the opener. Nicky Henderson sent the son of Kalanisi all the way to Musselburgh for his last run and was hammered into 5-4 favourite. However, Brain Power could never get to grips with enterprisingly-ridden Charbel but there was no disgrace in that given the terrific run of Kim Bailey’s trailblazer in Tuesday’s Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
The ubiquitous JP McManus colours were everywhere at Cheltenham and Barry Geraghty will be donning them again in the Silver Bowl, this time aboard recent Leicester winner CERNUNNOS (3.50). The six-year-old was raised 9lb and proved no match for the enigmatic Ericht at Kempton three weeks later. He still doesn’t look badly treated and can bounce back.
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