• Thu 17 Aug, 2017
  • 19:28 BST
  • 15:28 EST (BST-4)
  • 21:28 CEST (BST+2)

Five to follow on Saturday

Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Ascot, Newcastle and Lingfield on Saturday. View selections below.


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CONSUL DE THAIX (3.35) can further boost Nicky Henderson’s impressive record in the Wessex Youth Trust Hurdle at Ascot.

Running in the JP McManus colours, the lightly-raced Consul De Thaix would become Henderson’s fourth success in this fiercely competitive handicap and there was plenty to like about his recent Sandown second to stablemate Brain Power.

On only his third run for the Henderson yard, Consul De Thaix recovered from a first-flight blunder to throw in a big leap at the final obstacle and although the winner had flown, he was cutting into his advantage as the finishing line loomed. The ex-French gelding hasn’t much experience but is too tempting off an attractive weight.

Brain Power should go well but has a lot to do under a big burden in a contest that wouldn’t look out of place at Cheltenham in March.

Twelve months ago, Jollys Cracked It and Sternrubin fought out a titanic finish, with the judge unable to split them. Both reoppose, with Jollys Cracked It having his first outing since that fine effort. After such an absence he clearly comes with risks attached but Emma Lavelle has been among the winners during a brisk start to the season.

Sternrubin is a rock-solid handicapper and his fifth in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham was another good run. Ascot is more his track and besides last year’s dead-heat in this contest, Sternrubin scored over course and distance on his comeback in October. He represents excellent each-way value around 14-1.

Modus must enter calculations following two superb efforts in defeat. He came from a long way back in the Greatwood to throw down what looked a winning challenge at the final flight but was edged out by progressive North Hill Harvey. Detractors will point to his suspect attitude but Paul Nicholls’ charge should go close, despite going up 5lb for that Cheltenham run.

Wolf Of Windlesham was holding every chance when falling two out in the Greatwood and a recent second on the all-weather ensures his big-race fitness.

Tony Martin has bookmakers and punters scratching their heads in unison by sending three fancied horses to post.

The layers prefer the prospects of Leopardstown flat winner Golden Spear, fifth in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket, over Ebor third Quick Jack and Pyromaniac.

Meet The Legend, a bumper winner for Keith Dalgleish before switching to Dan Skelton, has the look of an unexposed sort near the foot of the weights. A tongue-tie is added to the hood he normally wears and Meet The Legend despatched Emerging Talent at Newbury in February following an encouraging fifth to Altior at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Alan King’s Who Dares Wins, a good winner at Newbury’s Hennessy fixture, has been lumbered with a 9lb rise which may scupper his chance.

Some of our top three-mile hurdlers line up earlier on the card. Unowhatimeanharry was devastating in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury and last season’s Cheltenham festival scorer is a very worthy market leader sporting the McManus colours for only the second time following his big-money purchase.

Unowhatimeanharry made it six straight victories at Newbury and on that run he comfortably holds Ballyoptic and Reve De Sivola, a three-time winner of this contest.

However, bookmakers have priced up the favourite at restrictive odds for the Long Walk Hurdle and an each-way chance is taken on PTIT ZIG (2.25) to cause an upset.

Ptit Zig took the scalp of Gallic ace Alex De Larredya in the French Champion Hurdle back in June and although that horse exacted his revenge at Auteuil last month, the application of blinkers instead of a visor may give Ptit Zig the edge.

His Sandown defeat of Silsol was another good effort and he lost nothing in defeat when chasing home Thistlecrack at Cheltenham in January. At odds of around 8-1, the Nicholls runner should give his backers a good spin.

Lil Rockerfella improved for his comeback third to Silsol at Wetherby by giving Yanworth a big scare last time. Noel Fehily is an ideal supersub for the suspended Trevor Whelan and the commendably tenacious Lil Rockerfella boasts course form.

GO CONQUER (3.00) appears well treated near the foot of the handicap in the Silver Cup.

Formerly a promising novice hurdler for Donald McCain, Go Conquer didn’t pull up any trees on his first couple of runs for Jonjo O’Neill following a long absence.

The seven-year-old looked a different horse altogether at Wincanton and he showed his liking for Ascot when running Present Man to a neck over 2m 5f, leaving the impression that a longer trip would be no problem.

Richard Johnston on top is a bonus and Go Conquer gets the vote over The Druids Nephew and Irish Saint.

The Tommy Whittle Chase is one of Haydock’s most venerable handicaps and YALA ENKI (2.40) is thrown into the deep end for his chasing debut by Venetia Williams.

The top weight is a class apart if converting his hurdles form to the bigger obstacles and will take some beating in the 32Red-sponsored contest over 2m 7f on soft ground.

Yala Enki landed three competitive events at Exeter, Kempton and Ascot last season, and there was plenty to like about his return to action last month when running third to Kruzhlinin over course and distance.

GRENDISAR (2.00) boasts a tremendous all-weather record spanning several seasons and he is fancied to repeat his 2014 success in the Betway Quebec Stakes, a Listed event over 1m 2f at Lingfield.

Marco Botti’s six-year-old was a tad disappointing on his return from a 232-day lay-off, managing only fourth to Team Talk over course and distance last month. Grendisar has a bit of leeway to make on runner-up Educate but he is entitled to strip a bit sharper with that pipe-opener under his belt.

Runner-up last year to Sir Mark Prescott’s surprise winner Don’t Be (20-1), Grendisar can go one better.

Battalion whipped Master The World over course and distance last month on his first start for Jamie Osborne and the gelding should certainly improve on last year’s sixth when given an inordinate amount of ground to make up after being tucked in from a very wide draw. He rates a threat along with the consistent and versatile Educate.

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Alan

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