• Thu 29 Jun, 2017
  • 05:05 BST
  • 01:05 EST (BST-4)
  • 07:05 CEST (BST+2)

Five to follow on Saturday

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


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DOING FINE (3.35) looks the best of a three-pronged Neil Mulholland attack on the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

The seven-year-old often carries big weights against inferior rivals, but gets in here with 10st 3lb, while his close second to enigmatic Rocky Creek in the London National provides evidence of useful course form.

Doing Fine could hardly be in better nick, having landed a 3m 4f chase at Cheltenham 10 days ago. He is officially 8lb well in and Tom Scudamore takes the mount.

Mulholland lifted last year’s renewal with The Young Master and his gelding remains a fresh horse after falling at Bechers first time round in the Grand National.

The Druids Nephew finished fifth 12 months ago and gives Mulholland a third string to his bow.

Last year’s gallant runner-up Just A Par is back for another crack but Paul Nicholls’ best chance could rest  with Present Man, the winner of three of his last four starts.

Nicky Henderson’s Sugar Baron, a first-fence casualty in the Scottish Grand National a week ago at Ayr, beat Present Man more than four lengths at Wincanton last May and is 8lb better off.

Henderson also saddles an interesting type in Vyta Du Roc. The eight-year-old has slipped down the weights on the back of some average performances, but he would have a great chance if able to recapture last year’s sparkle which saw him beating Minella Rocca at Kempton and running fifth to Vicente in the Scottish National off a higher mark.

Benbens outran his 50-1 odds to finish third at Ayr for Nigel Twiston-Davies and the 12-year-old is a tough sort.

Rock The Kasbah, a useful novice for Philip Hobbs, has the right profile for the race and ran into a real good ‘un in American at Uttoxeter. Some rain would be welcomed by connections.

MENORAH (2.25) has won the last three runnings of the bet 365 Oaksey Chase and will be sent off favourite (around 15-8) to make it win No 4.

Hobbs’ popular stable favourite was made to work hard for victory last year by Valseur Lido, and Josses Hill and Traffic Fluide are set to throw down serious challenges.

Menorah, best when fresh, was last seen over hurdles when finishing third to Unowhatimeanharry at Newbury in November and this good ground is right up his alley.

The opening juvenile hurdle sees Nicky Henderson unleash French recruit Call Me Lord under top weight. Bookmakers have priced him up favourite and at bigger odds GREGARIOUS (1.50) makes plenty of each-way appeal.

Lucy Wadham’s grey has become something of a Sandown specialist, winning his last two starts over course and distance under aggressive tactics. Both wins came on soft ground, so this faster surface is something of an unknown. What is not in question is the fact that Gregarious is very well treated with Paul Nicholls’ Dolos on a form line through Percy Street.

There are two televised handicaps on the level at Haydock, sponsored by 188bet, with OH THIS IS US (2.40) fancied to continue a string of excellent early-season efforts.

After a productive winter spent in Dubai, Oh This Is Us was the subject of a sustained gamble for the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster, only narrowly failing to inflict serious fiscal pain on relieved bookmakers.

Richard Hannon’s gelding, a three-time winner last April/May, goes particularly well on a slick surface and conditions were ideal at Bath last time when he led over a furlong out and held on well.

His principal rival in this seven-furlong Class 2 contest would appear to be the William Haggas-trained Afjaan, a bit unlucky not to scoop a huge pot in the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot in October when failing to get a clear run at winner Yuften.

Oh This Us’s chances would receive a timely boost if EL VIP (2.05) wins the preceding one-mile handicap.

El Vip finished a close third to Oh This Is Us at Bath and Luca Cumani’s four-year-old could conceivably show a little improvement with that run under his belt.

Hannon saddles a lively threat in War Glory, pipped by Forceful Appeal at Lingfield, and only 3lb higher here.

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Alan

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