Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Sandown and Wolverhampton on Saturday. View selections below.
AFFAIRE D’HONNEUR (3.10) looks nicely treated in the Close Brothers Imperial Cup at Sandown.
Harry Whittington has quickly made a name for himself as an astute young trainer and he was cursing his luck in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury when Affaire D’Honneur was rooted to the spot from a standing start.
The lightly-raced five-year-old was still stone cold last turning for home but stayed on to great effect, eventually snatching fourth spot behind impressive winner Agrapart. With top weight Rayvin Black standing his ground, Affaire D’Honneur has a lovely racing weight of 10st 10lb having been raised a mere pound for his Newbury exploits.
Richard Johnson and Philip Hobbs have been a regular Saturday source of income but the master trainer has set a poser in the valuable Listed Mares’ Bumper by running both TEARSOFCLEWBAY (3.45) and Copper Key.
Johnson has stayed loyal to the latter, the winner of three of her four starts, the most recent coming at Cheltenham when beating 15 rivals. On a line through Theatre Territory there is precious little between Copper Key and Tearsofclewbay.
Conor Smith retains the ride on my selection and Tearsofclewbay proved herself a resolute galloper when scoring at Ascot. The ground was very deep when she spread-eagled her field at Uttoxeter and she will encounter similar terrain here. The rider’s 7lb claim and Sandown’s stiff uphill finish sways me in her favour at an each-way price.
Anyone witnessing MINELLA RECEPTION (4.55) toy with the opposition at Warwick last time won’t hesitate to follow the 10-year-old in again. The assessor has imposed an 8lb rise but the well-beaten runner-up that day, Renard, ran very well in defeat at Exeter during the week.
There is some tremendous action on the Tapeta at Wolverhampton, with six-time course winner Chookie Royale sure to prove popular in the Ladbrokes Lady Wulfruna Stakes. He likes to crack out and get on with the job but may be harried for the lead by two other front-runners, Kelinni and Mister Universe.
His in-form stablemate BIFF JOHNSON (3.25) may prove a safer option in the 1m 6f 32Red Casino Handicap. The four-year-old has been a revelation since joining Keith Dalgleish from Ed Dunlop, recording form figures of 1121 from four runs.
That latest success came over a two-furlong shorter trip at Wolverhampton and he had plenty to spare over Icebuster. A 7lb rise seems fair and Biff Johnson is improving at a rate of knots.
Unibet sponsor a very competitive six-furlong handicap and STEELRIVER (4.00) has got luckier with the draw than his last course visit when forced to tuck in from the widest stall. He was doing all his best work at the finish and is well berthed in stall four. David Barron and Graham Gibbons are a formidable team and are on song at present.
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