Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Sandown, Haydock and Ripon on Saturday. View selections below.
THE YOUNG MASTER (4.10) comes into the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown a relatively fresh horse and should make a bold bid to land the end-of-season 3m 5f showpiece.
The seven-year-old ran a fine race in the Ultima Handicap at Cheltenham in March, staying on into third place behind Un Temps Pour Tout and Holywell over 3m 1f. The Young Master ran up an incredible sequence of eight wins in nine races since unseating his rider at the first fence in the 2013 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. Sam Waley-Cohen takes off 3lb and a big run is on the cards.
Victory for Southfield Theatre would see Paul Nicholls finally see off Willie Mullins in their titanic trainers’ title slugfest. Southfield Theatre was still in contention when brought down in the Ultima Handicap and he is joined in the line up by Just A Par.
Mullins has entered two, Sir Des Champs and Measureofmydreams, an early casualty in last Saturday’s Coral Scottish Grand National.
If the ground continues to dry out that will boost the chance of Saint Are, heavily inconvenienced when the rain came at Aintree before the Crabbie’s Grand National.
Mullins has a big chance in the opening bet365 juvenile hurdle with VOIX DU REVE (2.20), an unfortunate last-flight faller when holding every chance in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham. Graham Wylie’s four-year-old holds Duke Street (ninth) on that run but it should be closer this time on this quicker ground. Nicholls’ Tommy Silver is another sure to have his backers following a fine seventh in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
What a fascinating re-match in prospect for the bet365 Celebration Chase with UN DE SCEAUX (3.35) looking to avenge his Cheltenham defeat at the hands of superstar Sprinter Sacre.
The Mullins runner just gets the nod in the belief he will enjoy an easier lead than at Cheltenham, with Sprinter Sacre possibly at his very best returning from a long break. We’ll see.
Nicholls is four-handed in the concluding 20-runner handicap hurdle, with unexposed Fontwell winner Red Hanrahan favoured by stable jockey Sam Twiston-Davies. However, that man Mullins may have the winner in BELLOW MOME (5.55) chasing a hat-trick after wins at Limerick and Punchestown. The Limerick form looks solid, with odds-on A Great View well regarded and it is worth taking the risk that Bellow Mome will be just as effective on this quicker ground.
There is plenty of competitive flat action dotted around the country and at Haydock there is some confidence behind HIGHER POWER (5.40) in the 1m 2f AppolloBet handicap. The four-year-old hasn’t been seen since going down by under a length to Barreesh in a Nottingham maiden in late June. Higher Power steps into a handicap off a mark of 80 and James Fanshawe’s horses have been going well.
At Ripon, CHANCERY (4.25) looks the answer to the intriguing six-runner contest. Chancery has a terrific course record, with form figures of 1-4-1-2-2 from five visits, and he made an encouraging return behind Sandro Botticelli at Doncaster. The winner chased home Battalion at Chelmsford off a mark of 107 last Saturday and Chancery sets a high standard in this company.
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