• Tue 26 Sep, 2017
  • 12:01 BST
  • 08:01 EST (BST-4)
  • 14:01 CEST (BST+2)

Five to follow on Saturday

Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Prestbury Park, Cheltenham on Saturday. View selections below.


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VILLAGE VIC (1.50) can continue his love affair with Cheltenham by defying top weight in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.

Philip Hobbs’ bold front-runner fought back tenaciously when collared by Taquin Du Soleil in last month’s BetVictor Gold Cup and holds several of today’s rivals on that sterling effort.

Village Vic is bidding to become only the second horse to win this prize in consecutive years but although a massive 22lb higher than 12 months ago, the assessor has raised him only 3lb for his neck defeat in the BetVictor, which seems fair.

His trainer is hoping the ground softens up and although it would be a magnificent effort to win under 11st 12lb, the task may not be beyond an in-form Village Vic.

Paul Nicholls’ Poquelin made history by notching back-to-back successes in 2009 and 2010, and his trainer is doubly represented by Bouvreuil and Frodon, fifth and last respectively in the BetVictor.

Better ground will suit Bouvreuil and he should strip a shade sharper for that debut run. Barry Geraghty rides JP McManus’ five-year-old for the first time which is a bonus.

Frodon racked up a hat-trick in novice company before being asked to tackle some battle-hardened handicappers. It was always going to be a tough task but he was running well enough until making a bad mistake at the ditch four out. Frodon can take a hand if avoiding any crunching errors.

Buywise did what he does best and ran into a place in the BetVictor. The more galloping New course may suit him slightly better and Evan Williams tries a visor in a bid to end a frustrating run of glorious defeats.

Williams has a second string to his bow in King’s Odyssey, but he may not run if the forecast afternoon rain fails to arrive in time.

Like many of Venetia Williams’ horses, Abso, fourth in the BetVictor, prefers it soft and may not line up either. A similar remark applies to ante-post gamble Aloomomo, so the race could cut-up come post time, triggering those annoying Rule 4 deductions.

One who does look sure to run is Harry Fry’s useful Thomas Brown, an Aintree winner on his reappearance. A 5lb rise isn’t a disaster by any means.

It would be folly not to consider Colin Tizzard’s duo, Quite By Chance and Sizing Codelco. The former is a decent tool but does most of his racing going right-handed which may pose a problem. On form, his Ascot second to Sire De Grugy is as good as anything on offer.

Nicky Henderson’s Full Shift doesn’t look quite good enough but first-time cheekpieces, plus good ground, could spark some improvement following a respectable effort at Newbury.

Roman Flight has been kept busy but showed no signs of coming to the end of his tether with a game victory at Newbury last time.

Kerry Lee worked wonders with Kylemore Lough last season, her gelding completing a five-timer by beating Outlander at Fairyhouse in April. On his return he went down by a head to Royal Regatta at Ascot, finishing ahead of talented God’s Own and Eduard, and should go well under his big weight.

MY TENT OR YOURS (3.00) has run some of his greatest races in defeat at Cheltenham, the latest second prize coming in March when, returning from an absence of almost two years, he chased home Annie Power in the Champion Hurdle.

Nicky Henderson’s pre-race fears that Haydock’s glue-pot would be his undoing last month proved well founded when My Tent Or Yours floundered behind Ch’tibello, with Old Guard trailing home last of the four runners.

My Tent Or Yours and last year’s winner Old Guard do battle again in the Stan James.com International Hurdle and both will be much better served by the sounder terrain at Prestbury Park. My Tent Or Yours looks a worthy favourite but this is no walk-over against the likes of Mister Miyagi and The New One.

Mister Miyagi has won two of his three runs around Cheltenham and Dan Skelton believes the drop to two miles is no bad thing.

The New One, a dual winner of this event, was only diverted here after his planned chasing debut was aborted at the last minute, which has to be something of a concern.

DOMPERIGNON DU LYS (12.05) made a huge impression when scoring at Newcastle on Fighting Fifth day and lays down his Cheltenham festival claims in the JCB Triumph Trial.

The Hobbs-trained Defi Du Seuil also looked very useful when winning at the course last time and it promises to be an intriguing and informative match-up.

SIZING PLATINUM (1.15) should appreciate an ease in grade in the Raymond Mould Handicap Chase.

The eight-year-old has been set two stiff examinations since joining Colin Tizzard from Henry De Bromhead. After a terrific second to Fox Norton over two miles here in October, Sizing Platinum wasn’t disgraced in the Bet Victor Chase, finishing ninth. He is at his best when performing on a decent surface.

JESSBER’S DREAM (3.35) is interesting in the mares’ hurdle on the back of a slightly disappointing comeback run (fifth) behind Surtee Du Berlais at Kempton.

Rons Dream and Run Ructions Run occupied the places that day but my selection is much better treated with the runner-up. Jessber’s Dream, having her initial start then for the Nicholls yard following a switch from Harry Fry, seemed to find three miles on soft ground beyond her and this shorter distance looks perfect.

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Tally Ho

Alan

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