• Sat 23 Sep, 2017
  • 22:53 BST
  • 18:53 EST (BST-4)
  • 00:53 CEST (BST+2)

Five to follow on Saturday

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


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NO shortage of top-class action on Super Saturday at Cheltenham, with Thistlecrack, Un De Sceaux and Unowhatimeanharry the star attractions.

The terrific trio will appeal to punters doing short-price doubles and trebles, but there are bigger prices up for grabs on the ‘support’ card.

CHAMPERS ON ICE (12.35) ran his heart out at the Cheltenham festival when running third to Unowhatimeanharry in the Albert Bartlett and should go close in the Timeform Novices’ Chase.

David Pipe’s grey scored by 27 lengths on his chasing debut at Uttoxeter in December but found Harry Fry’s useful American too quick at Warwick a fortnight ago. He still appears well enough treated and with 10-1 available in places, Champers On Ice is the each-way shout.

Classy Ibis Du Rheu and Singlefarmpayment should play a prominent part.

WHOLESTONE (3.25) has plenty of experience around Cheltenham which may give him the edge over several fancied rivals in the Neptune Investment Management Classic Novices’ Hurdle over the extended 2m 4f trip.

Indeed, his last three runs have come at Prestbury Park (1-2-1) and on each occasion Wholestone has finished in front of West Approach, although very little separates them. Nigel Twiston-Davies has his team in great form and Wholestone gets the nod over West Approach and Nicky Henderson’s William Henry.

A dual bumper winner, William Henry was off the track more than 600 days when chasing home Pingshou over course and distance in early December. He stepped up on that run three weeks later when easily accounting for stablemate Le Dauphin at Newbury and he is still unexposed now moving up another four furlongs.

Unbeaten Kimberlite Candy, so impressive at Newcastle before Christmas, and rock-solid Keep In Line are two others worth considering in a cracking contest.

UNOWHATIMEANHARRY (4.00) bids to extend his winning sequence to eight in the Cleeve Hurdle.

He emerged out of the gloom at fog-bound Ascot with a healthy lead in the Long Walk Hurdle after it transpired that Ballyoptic had departed at the last flight along with the beaten West Approach. Ballyoptic is his main rival again and although Unowhatimeanharry will need to be on his mettle, some bookmakers have priced him up a tempting even-money shot.

ROBINSHILL (4.35) and Maestro Royal take up the cudgels again after fighting out a thriller at Sandown three weeks ago.

Robinshill looked home and hosed when going clear after two out, only to be worn down on the climb to the line. The handicapper has raised them 6lb and 7lb respectively but they finished nine lengths clear. Jamie Bargary’s 3lb claim may be crucial and Robinshill gets the nod at a tasty each-way price of 10-1 in a few places.

Bigmarte beat Drumcliff a length at Kempton’s Christmas fixture and they lock horns again with obvious claims in an open affair.

SOUTHFIELD ROYALE (3.40) can overcome a long absence to bag the £80,000 Sky Bet Handicap Chase at Doncaster.

Fitness shouldn’t be a concern as trainer Neil Mulholland is a master at getting them primed for these big handicaps and the progressive seven-year-old has the form in the book, notably a course victory over the reopposing Coologue last December.

The gelding had 13 lengths to spare over that rival and although the track was riding deep that day, Southfield Royale has won on an assortment of surfaces ranging from good to heavy.

My selection made a bold bid to land the 2015 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton, leading three out but collared on the run-in by Tea For Two. Southfield Royale was then sent to the Cheltenham festival and ran another solid race in the four-mile National Hunt Chase, finishing fourth behind Minella Rocco and Native River. His next outing at Punchestown was a race too many and he arrives at Doncaster a fresh animal.

Last year’s winner Ziga Boy is only 4lb higher and likes it around Town Moor, boasting form figures of 1-1-3 from three visits. Alan King’s eight-year-old warmed up with a fine third to No Duffer (closely matched with long-time leader Long Lunch) and his trainer reaches for first-time cheekpieces. Ideally, good ground suits the grey.

Potters Cross is one of the likely front-runners having led some way out when beating Treaty Girl at Newbury. He is up 7lb and may not have much in hand at the revised weights with sixth horse Another Hero, representing Jonjo O’Neill and JP McManus.

Another Hero ran fourth to another McManus handicapper, Regal Encore, on his most recent outing at Ascot in mid-December, one spot behind top weight Tenor Nivernais.

Market leader Bigbadjohn was no match for the mighty Thistlecrack at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting but went on to land a match race at the same venue the following month. Runner-up Our Kaempfer then bagged a decent handicap at Kempton, beating smart Kruzhlinin, so Bigbadjohn is entitled to be in the shake-up.

Out Sam ran third to Double Shuffle and Go Conquer at Kempton’s Christmas meeting and Warren Greatrex’s eight-year-old is another one at the right end of the weights to make a bold show.

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Alan

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