• Sun 16 Jun, 2024
  • 01:35 BST
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Five to follow on Saturday

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

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SECRET INVESTOR (1.55) can strut his stuff on the big stage by bagging the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

This is always a keenly-contested 2m 4f handicap chase and Paul Nicholls sent Secret Investor to Ireland for his initial outing of the season when finishing a well-held second to classy Real Steel in a Grade 2 event. He scored twice last March/April, at Ayr and Wincanton, and looks ready to step up to the plate in one of these typically competitive Saturday handicaps.

Cepage sets the standard on his second to Riders Onthe Storm at Aintree but the assessor has lumped 8lb on his rating for that fine effort. Brelan D’as ran Happy Diva to a neck in the BetVictor Gold Cup and a 5lb rise seems a bit fairer. At the bottom of the weights, Dan Skelton’s Not That Fuisse, runner-up to talented Al Dancer in October, should be prominent.

With eight runners declared for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle there is scope for an each-way punt in an open contest.

This three-mile test sorts out the men from the boys and THE MULCAIR (2.30) ploughed through the mud to thump 129-rated Jepeck by 11 lengths at Southwell last month. The five-year-old is very lightly raced and has scope for more improvement. Valtor hand a couple of lengths in hand of Redford Road at Ascot but isn’t certain to confirm places on revised terms, while Igor responded to a positive ride at Ascot to score quite convincingly. Both Champagne Well’s runs this season have come at Cheltenham and Fergal O’Brien’s gelding, a winner in October, had to give second-best to useful Thyme Hill on his last visit.

CALL ME LORD (3.05) was an expensive runner-up at Ascot last month but is fancied to go one better in the Unibet International Hurdle. Nicky Henderson’s gelding travelled strongly but was ultimately just outrun by If The Cap Fits. Call Me Lord won’t mind any rain and wins the vote over stable companion Pentland Hills and consistent Ch’tibello.

Pentland Hills ended the season on a high, travelling strongly throughout before landing the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham and later edging out Fakir D’oudairies at Aintree. Ch’tibello scooped the competitive County Hurdle here in March and probably improved again at Aintree the following month when a close third to Supasundae and Buveur D’Air. Front-running Elixir De Nutz doesn’t have

much to find to take a hand on the evidence of his victory over Grand Sancy in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown.

DAME DE COMPAGNE (3.40) is a worthy market leader in the 2m 4f Mares’ Handicap Hurdle. Her fifth to Harambe in the Greatwood Hurdle here last month came in stronger company and she previously scored over course and distance in April. Running in the ubiquitous JP McManus colours, she is preferred to Dan Skelton’s filly Vision Du Pays, third to Lady Buttons at Wetherby. Lust For Glory failed by two lengths to hunt down enterprisingly-ridden Not So Sleepy at Ascot and may improve for this step up in trip.

At Doncaster, WINDSOR AVENUE (2.10) is just preferred to Sam Spinner in the three-mile Novices’ Chase. Brian Ellison’s gelding has looked a natural over fences in scoring at Sedgefield and Carlisle, the latest by 12 lengths from odds-on Ballymoy. Sam Spinner, a very useful staying hurdler, has 6lb in hand on official figures and, like Windsor Avenue, has looked the part in mopping up a couple of novice chases at Wetherby. The only other contender, Aye Right, is not a bad sort by any means and will appeal to ‘outsider of three’ backers.

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