• Sat 23 Sep, 2017
  • 22:52 BST
  • 18:52 EST (BST-4)
  • 00:52 CEST (BST+2)

Five to follow on Saturday

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


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LORD OF THE ISLAND (3.00) shouldn’t be far away in the three-mile Betfred Mobile Heroes handicap hurdle at soggy Sandown.

Fergal O’Brien’s nine-year-old put down a solid marker in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton, keeping on in third behind useful winner Modus. Lord Of The Island runs off the same mark and should cope with this slightly longer trip on very testing ground.

Market leader Rolling Dylan finished one place ahead of Desert Sensation when hunting up Shantou Bob at Chepstow and the winner has since ran a cracker (fifth) behind Unowhatimeanharry in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Rolling Dylan will have a tongue-tie for the first time and looks a dour stayer.

Behind Time wears the JP McManus silks under Barry Geraghty and he has posted two good efforts, beating Solomn Grundy at Cheltenham before the same horse took his revenge at Newbury’s Hennessy fixture.

Kk Legion romped home from Fortunate George at Wincanton but a 14lb rise seems brutal.

Mr Mix edged out Ruacana at Wincanton but looks high enough in the weights, while stablemate Connetable has been chasing since running fourth to El Torremoto at Haydock in November.

El Torremoto has since finished a well-beaten third to Clyne and Le Rocher at Haydock before Christmas but that is fairly strong form.

OTAGO TRAIL (3.35) will handle the mud better than most in the Betfred Masters Handicap Chase.

Like many of Venetia Williams’ horses Otago Trail seems best on testing ground and he bounced back from an abortive trip to Leopardstown by finishing a well-beaten, but meritorious, second to hugely impressive Bristol De Mai at Haydock.

Otago Trail had previously beaten Bristol De Mai in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle and with veteran Loose Chips sure to ensure a strong gallop, his staying power should kick in from the Pond fence.

Irish Saint is a classy sort but this stamina-sapping three miles may catch him out as he weakened between the last two fences when sixth to Regal Encore at Ascot in December.

Rock The Kasbah, a very smart hurdler, steps out of novice chasing company to tackle some seasoned performers. His second to Politologue over 2m 5f at Ascot is a strong piece of form.

Beg To Differ has been dropped a couple of pounds since running fourth to Native River in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow and it would be no surprise to see him take advantage of the assessor’s apparent leniency.

On a cracking Musselburgh card, PROJECT BLUEBOOK (1.30) is fancied to complete a course and distance hat-trick in the bet365 Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial.

John Quinn’s four-year-old showed a smart turn of foot to put some decent handicappers firmly in their place, clearly appreciating the good ground. Project Bluebook was entered in the Scottish County Hurdle off a 141 rating, but instead takes the juvenile route.

Following his most recent success, Project Bluebook was subsequently sold to JP McManus and could have the measure of ex-flat recruit Soldier In Action, winner of a Class 2 handicap at Goodwood for Mark Johnston.

Nicky Henderson has sent him a long way for his debut and Soldier In Action would have been a superior horse to Project Bluebook on the level. Previous hurdling experience could prove invaluable and Alan King’s unbeaten Fidux gives the race added interest.

Bet365 also sponsor the Scottish County Hurdle and the McManus-owned DRUMCLIFF (3.15) can provide Noel Fehily with a rare Musselburgh winner.

The six-year-old was badly hampered two out before rallying into second place behind Bigmarte at Kempton’s Christmas meeting and this would be some consolation for Harry Fry’s raider. Drumcliff is well treated on a lovely racing weight of 10st 10lb.

Paul Nicholls is another southern trainer with a beady eye on this nice prize and Diego Du Charmil probably found the ground a bit too soft when well behind Brain Power at Ascot. The five-year-old scored on good ground at Chepstow and rates a threat along with top weight Optimus Prime.

The ex-French gelding has been raised 3lb on the back of his debut run for Dan Skelton at Huntingdon in November when chasing home subsequent scorer Robinshill. Bridget Andrews takes off 3lb which negates the ratings rise.

Some of our top flat jockeys are back in the saddle for the valuable Betway Winter Derby Trial at Lingfield and the old team of Ryan Moore and Sir Michael Stoute are represented by ARAB SPRING (3.05).

This 10-furlong trip is on the short side and this will be Arab Spring’s first experience of the Lingfield all-weather, but his class can win the day. The seven-year-old has won on an artificial surface, having beaten Robin Of Navan and Sky Hunter over 1m 4f at Kempton. That Group 3 victory followed a narrow defeat by Godolphin’s Move Up in the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge at Ascot in early October.

Decorated Hero could emerge as the main threat on his all-weather baptism. Roger Charlton’s five-year-old, the mount of Andrea Atzeni, beat Portage in a Group 3 at Leopardstown in July but hasn’t been seen since high summer.

Fitness is no concern for dual course and distance winner Battalion, on a roll since switching from William Haggas to Jamie Osborne. If they crawl round, his turn of foot could prove decisive.

Grendisar has mopped up the last two renewals of this Listed event but has been a bit below par in a couple of comeback runs.

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Alan

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