Alan Thomson’s Tips: Land of Hope and glory

rekindling-horseracing

THERE is some terrific action at Cheltenham but I’m lowering my sights in the hope that the bookmakers’ odds compilers have allowed a few horses to slip under the radar at the less glamorous meetings.

BOLLIHOPE (2.25) is one such horse at Newcastle and I’m hoping his stamina will last out over this new 1m 4f trip.

This Class 6 handicap has been divided and Bollihope has got lucky as this looks by far the weaker division.

He is a three-time Newcastle winner over 1m 2f and if Dougie Costello can get him tucked in from stall 10 then he will be hard to beat.

Bollihope was last seen finishing fifth to the 69-rated Rayaa at Chelmsford City last month when he had eight lengths to spare over sixth placed Berlusca, a winner next time at Wolverhampton.

Richard Guest is one of those ‘streaky’ trainers and his Mr Potter ran really well at Chelmsford City last night.

Don Cantillon is another trainer who likes a tilt at the ring and Western Way has fallen to a ridiculously low mark is able to recapture some of his former sparkle. This could be quite a hot betting heat.

There’s a High Noon start at Doncaster and Eskendash (12.00) appears sound value trading around 5-1 in the Bet365.com handicap hurdle.

Pam Sly pops him into a handicap for the first time over hurdles and his mark of 115 could prove lenient.

Eskendash, a maiden winner on the all-weather at Kempton over 1m 4f, finished third to useful Clondaw Castle (runs in the 12.30 Doncaster) in a Huntingdon maiden.

Later on the card AMOUR DE NUIT (1.40) will appreciate the better ground he encounters in the Bet365 Handicap Hurdle.

The David Nicholls-trained five-year-old has looked something of a ‘bridle’ horse in the past, cruising along but not always finding that much when push comes to shove.

That said, he is a talented individual and takes a drop in class after finding High Bridge and Charli Parcs too hot to handle at Newbury a fortnight ago. He was always travelling well when accounting for Listen To The Man at Kempton (good) in October and Bryony Frost’s 5lb allowance is clearly a bonus.

Amour de Nuit receives plenty of weight from classy Flying Tiger, third to champion hurdler Buveur D’air in the Unibet Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, and that may be the deciding factor.

I’ll restrict myself to one main bet at Cheltenham where MOMELLA (3.40) wins a narrow vote in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

Dan Skelton’s five-year-old found only On The Blind Side too strong up the Cheltenham hill last month and had earlier pulled readily clear of Brahms De Clermont at Fakenham. That horse defied 11st 10lb to score at Taunton on Thursday.

Brillare Memento was beaten by Momella at Newton Abbot back in May when sent off the 1-3 favourite but Martin Keighley’s mare is now 7lb better off for that two lengths beating.

Rons Dream ran second to Lily Waugh in this race two years ago and the handicapper is starting to relent.

If we are still in funds BELABOUR (7.45) is worth a few quid in the 1m 4f handicap at Wolverhampton.

He should really have won on his last visit a fortnight ago but was caught just too far out of his ground when the field bunched up on the home bend. Belabour switched wide but got going just too late, finishing strongly into second spot. A 2lb rise is a bit annoying for trainer Mark Brisbourne but this is another weak affair.

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