• Mon 25 Sep, 2017
  • 21:24 BST
  • 17:24 EST (BST-4)
  • 23:24 CEST (BST+2)

Five to follow on Saturday

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

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DOUBLE SHUFFLE (3.35) can further boost Tom George’s impressive BetBright Chase record at Kempton.

The Gloucestershire-based trainer scooped the 2009 and 2012 renewals with popular Nacarat (plus two placed efforts) and he saddled Roc D’Apsis to finish third 12 months ago.

Double Shuffle comes into the race on the back of a course and distance success at the Christmas meeting, with the step up to three miles seeming to eke out improvement.

The first-time hood may also have contributed to his emphatic success and Double Shuffle, off a fair 6lb rise, gets the nod.

Last year’s winner Theatre Guide is 14lb higher this time round which makes a follow-up an unlikely scenario, although he could well hit the frame as his proven stamina will kick in down the straight.

Off a better racing weight, I’d be more interested in Viva Steve, still in with a shout when blundering three out in the Betfred Warwick Classic. Viva Steve ran well for Mick Channon over course and distance behind The Last Samurai and new handler Fergal O’Brien successfully pointed him north to Ayr in November.

Neil Mulholland is always a man to be feared in these big handicaps and he saddles two at the foot of the weights, Fingerontheswitch and Pilgrims Bay. Market support for either would be noteworthy.

Ballykan was a shade disappointing at Bangor, while Market Rasen scorer Three Muskateers has plenty of weight.

Irish Saint isn’t guaranteed to see out a strongly-run three miles but has a bit of class about him.

The Sky Bet Dovecot Novices’ Hurdle has attracted some smart sorts, with CAPITAINE (3.00) a strong fancy to concede weight all round.

Paul Nicholls’ gelding hurdled with speed and accuracy at Ascot before Christmas, giving 7lb and a comfortable beating to strapping Captain Forez. He was put in his place by Colin Tizzard’s highly-regarded Finian’s Oscar in the Tolworth Hurdle when deep ground blunted his speed, but is fancied to get the better of Captain Forez, River Wylde, Peter The Mayo Man and Elgin.

CHARLIE PARCS (1.50) can cement his position near the head of the Triumph Hurdle market by mopping up the BetBright Adonis Hurdle.

Nicky Henderson reckons he is up there with the best of his previous Triumph Hurdle winners and the JP McManus-owned gelding was visually very impressive when scoring over course and distance over Christmas.

SHOTGUN PADDY (2.45) has been tipped up here in the past two years to land the Betfred Eider Chase at Newcastle and it could be a case of third time lucky.

Shotgun Paddy, second last year to Rocking Blues, unseated his rider when sent off favourite for the 2015 Eider renewal. His third to One For Arthur in the Betfred Classic at Warwick, a race he had previously won, puts Emma Lavelle’s popular 10-year-old in the mix, especially with the ground turning heavy.

Mountainous is well known for handling muddy conditions and should go well for Kerry Lee, who also saddles Russe Blanc. This one has quite a bit to find with Shotgun Paddy on Warwick form.

Warren Greatrex’s improving eight-year-old Out Sam has been in good nick recently. His fourth to Ziga Boy at Doncaster, followed by an excellent third to Double Shuffle at Kempton, is arguably the best form on display. Out Sam has winning novice hurdle/chase form on soft but there remains the suspicion that this gruelling trip may just find him out.

It’s very much a case of Groundhog Day, with a hatful of past contenders queuing up for another crack at this extended four-miler.

Kim Bailey’s Knockanrawley finished fourth to 2015 winner Milborough and returned to action following a 427-day absence with a fine fourth to One For Arthur at Warwick. The ‘bounce’ factor is a worry for Kim Bailey’s grey but he is one to consider in a contest with plenty of each-way appeal.

Milborough was well beaten last year in defence of his crown and needs to recapture his old sparkle.

Portrait King landed the 2012 Eider for Ireland back in 2012, then ran well in third last year. He turns up for another shot off virtually the same rating and a recent spin over hurdles at Ayr should have put the veteran spot-on.

Mysteree finished fourth 12 months ago off a lower mark, while David Pipe’s Gevrey Chambertin should go well at a nice price, having looked the most likely winner at Kempton last time, taking up the running before three out only to be collared by Blameitonmyroots.

Smooth Stepper was a course winner for Sue Smith last time out but has plenty to do if he is to turn around Kelso form with grand old stager Harry The Viking. Smith’s top weight Straidnahanna, so impressive at Catterick, would be the stable’s big hope.

Further down the weights, Harry Hogarth’s course winner Alto Des Mottes hasn’t been hit hard by a 4lb rise and is yet another to throw into this marathon puzzler with a chance.

BATTALION (3.15), a dual course and distance winner, can put his proven track-craft to full use by scooping a big pot in the Betway Winter Derby Stakes at Lingfield.

Formerly trained by William Haggas but now in the care of Jamie Osborne, Battalion has a potent turn of foot around these tight turns. The seven-year-old looked a shade unlucky not to finish closer to Decorated Knight and Arab Spring when meeting interference on the home bend.

He has often been inconvenienced by a muddling pace but Pinzolo should ensure a decent gallop.

The obvious threat is warm favourite Mutakayyef. The Haggas-trained six-year-old chased home Postponed and Highland Reel in the Juddmonte International at York before crossing the Atlantic to finish third to French flyer Tepin in the Woodbine Mile.

Hamdan Al-Maktoum’s gelding is clear top-rated but this is his first public outing on an artificial surface which could prove a leveller.

Grendisar, last year’s Winter Derby winner and runner-up to Tryster in 2015, was a closing fourth to Decorated Knight last time and should run his usual honest race, especially if blinkers work the oracle.

Battalion, a four-time course and distance scorer, is the solid each-way bet.

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