Some quality racing at both Cheltenham and Doncaster is the feature of this Saturday afternoon racing and we’ve got a lucky 15 tip.
The Cotswold Chase at the former track and a valuable handicap at the latter course are covered in this preview as are two novice hurdle races which are expected to provide pointers for the Cheltenham Festival. All four races are set to be televised on ITV.
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Staged over 3m, this small-runner but competitive Grade 2 hurdle is the target for Boss Man Fred who is unbeaten in three races over hurdles and was a course and distance winner last month when winning fairly comfortably as he outstayed the others. He deserves this upgrade in level.
The Dan Skelton trained horse will be joined in this race by Thomas Macdonagh who has won his last three starts in low-key events although his last triumph was sealed in a three-runner affair when starting at very short odds.
Among the other opponents is Champagne Well who has competed three times at Cheltenham this term beginning with a narrow opening success and then finishing second on subsequent outings. His later race was staged over nearly three miles which may be his optimum trip, but a second-place effort behind the highly-rated Thyme Hill over 2m5f is useful form.
Drying ground may not help the prospects of Ramses De Teillee who reverts to hurdling while Eva’s Oskar moves from handicap company after winning three of four races this term.
Tip – Boss Man Fred to Win.
Viewed as a trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, this extended 3m1f Grade 2 chase has attracted Santini from the Nicky Henderson stable and the gelding was 2nd in the RSA Chase at the Festival last season. He won his only race this season back in mid-November when narrowly scoring from Now McGinty at Sandown and while needing to improve from that effort, he is capable of doing so.
Among the likely challengers is Bristol De Mai who was beaten last time in Haydock’s Betfair Chase behind Lostintranslation. The grey gelding has failed to win in four previous outings at Cheltenham and drying ground will not help.
It will also be interesting to watch the performance of De Rasher Counter is his first graded race. He has not appeared on a racecourse since winning the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury back in late November while this race will be a test of the credentials of Top Ville Ben.
The Northern trained horse won at Wetherby last time but can be a difficult ride. He should have scored in a Newcastle race on a prior outing but idled in front when ultimately finishing third.
Take note also of Slate House who appears to have thrived since wind surgery winning all three completed starts including a decent race at Kempton last time. However, he is stepping up from novice company.
Tip – Santini to Win.
Trainer Nicky Henderson has declared two horses for this 3m Listed chase with Ok Corral among three top-weight horses. The 10-year-old gelding won twice over a similar distance last season but has been well beaten on both occasions this term with stablemate Burbank the more-fancied horse of the two.
Two years younger than his stable companion, Burbank followed a promising seasonal appearance at Sandown by scoring at Newbury over the festive period. He received 10lb in weight for the runner-up that day and has been raised in the ratings for that success.
Both Henderson horses will be joined by the Alan King duo of Dingo Dollar and Azzerti. The former gelding has raced both times at Newbury this term but has not competed since a decent fifth-placed effort behind De Rasher Counter in the Ladbrokes Trophy.
The other King representative may be more effective over a shorter trip with his two victories last year claimed over 2m4f. A better option may be Quarenta from the Jonjo O’Neill stable who finished well when second at Kempton later last year. The 8-year-old won comfortably at Fontwell prior to that narrow loss.
Tip – Quarenta to Win.
For this extended 2m4f Grade 2 hurdle, connections Protektorat will be seeking to make amends for their gelding’s New Year’s Day disqualification over a similar distance on this course at the New Year’s Day meeting. He was a narrow winner from Imperial Alcazar that day before placings were reversed, while he was also a close second in two other hurdle events over two miles earlier in the season on heavy ground.
Of the other contenders, King Roland should appreciate this distance after two decent efforts over shorter trips earlier this term. He chased home the useful Son Of Camas over two miles at Newbury and then easily accounted for the remainder in a low-key race at Exeter. Further improvement is expected.
Harry Senior will also be worth watching after a comfortable win at Chepstow last time when appreciating the near 2m4f distance whereas House Island was beaten by a respected Paul Nicholls trained horse in his prior race, which was a graded contest.
Tip – Harry Senior to win.
e.g. bet £20 on Santini to win the 2.25pm
If he wins you get paid in cash
If he loses you get a £20 CASH refund!
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