• Sat 18 May, 2024
  • 20:15 BST
  • 16:15 EST (BST-4)
  • 22:15 CEST (BST+2)

Charlie’s Weekend Whispers

Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with eight to follow on Saturday at Newbury, Lingfield and Leopardstown. View selections below.

Another wonderful weekend of racing and we begin our preview at Newbury where the feature race is the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle where I expect Thyme Hill (3.00) to maintain his unbeaten record over timber for Philip Hobbs.

The selection – Evens with BetVictor – finished third in the Champion Bumper back in March and is a leading fancy for both the Neptune (14s at BetVictor) and the Albert Bartlett (8s at BetVictor) at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival. The Cashel Man made all to win over C&D here in a handicap last month but will have to improve again to trouble the market leader. Indeed, I believe Emma Lavelle’s Eclair Surf is a bigger threat.

Defi Sacre is likely to be all the rage as he chases a quick hat-trick in the 2m handicap chase but the each way vote goes to Amoola Gold (1.15) who reverts to the minimum trip for the Skelton’s having finished tamely at Aintree over an additional half-mile last time. The form of the yard – 0 winners from their last 19 runners – is a slight concern but I am convinced he is up to winning from his current mark.

The Wolf is better than he showed at Bangor-on-Dee last time but in the 2m 4f handicap Hurdle the each way vote goes to Severano (1.50) who is 5/1 at BetVictor and whose track record reads 21. Note the horse he finished second to last November was Bright Highway and he went on to finish third in the Neptune at Cheltenham back in March. One For Rosie makes his belated seasonal reappearance but will do well to give 11lbs to the selection who has won his two starts over timber so far this term.

Strong Pursuit is a personal favourite and has gone well fresh in the past. A check of the market is advised. Without that prior information, however, the each way vote goes to Polydora (2.25) who is taken to leave behind his seasonal reappearance when he jumped poorly at Ayr. The selection is 8/1 at BetVictor.

Tidal Flow made me eat my words when scoring fluently at Uttoxeter on his second start over fences, but he must give 18lbs to Morning Vicar (3.35) who makes his chase debut for the Nicky Henderson stable today and certainly has the scope for the larger obstacles. The each way selection is 7/1 with BetVictor.

At Lingfield I hope to see Simon Crisford’s Corvair (1.00) make it third time lucky in the 7f Novice event. The selection was caught close home over 6f at Newcastle last time and I feel the return to 7f will suit.

At Leopardstown I’m looking forward to the chase debut of Allaho (1.25) for Willie Mullins who will have been thrilled by the win of Faugheen in the Grade 1 at Limerick on St Stephen’s Day but disappointed with the run of Laurina who was never jumping well at Leopardstown.

The Savills Chase is the big race of the weekend and it is a wonderful renewal of this Grade 1 contest. Kemboy was a fluent winner at Aintree – by 9L from dual King George winner Clan Des Obeaux – and he went on to beat the Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo at Punchestown.

He must go close, but I was very taken with the win of Road To Respect (3.10) at Down Royal on his reappearance and he gets the each way vote for Noel Meade at 9/2 with BetVictor.

At Doncaster on Sunday Yaa Salaam (3.20) looks well treated for his handicap debut for David Pipe. The selection travelled well when beaten on his seasonal reappearance at Lingfield and, after just three career starts, he is open to significant improvement.

I expect to see the real Minella Indo (1.55) in the Grade 1 Novice Chase at Leopardstown. Last season’s Cheltenham Festival winner was not knocked about on his chase debut over an inadequate trip last month, but I expect the red-hot combination of Henry de Bromhead and Rachel Blackmore to be more positive this afternoon on the Albert Bartlett winner who is 3/1 with BetVictor.

The Grade 1 Matheson Hurdle is very much a retrieval mission for the impressive Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Klassical Dream who disappointed at Punchestown on his reappearance. Preference is for the four-year-old Coeur Sublime (2.30) who finished third in the Triumph Hurdle back in the spring but seemed to improve markedly on his juvenile form when scoring at Down Royal on his reappearance.

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