ANOTHER packed Saturday of racing is under starter's orders and Alan has six selections from Sandown, Lingfield and Leopardstown.
VINDICATION is unbeaten in six starts, all on right-hand tracks, and Kim Bailey’s gelding is likely to go off favourite for the 888Sport Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown.
The six-year-old should get the soft ground he prefers and just edges the vote over Lostintranslation and Defi Du Seuil, with little separating that pair on their recent Cheltenham form.
The 3m handicap hurdle has attracted 20 runners, with top weight Ballymoy bidding to build further on his Ascot success a fortnight ago. He has been raised 5lb and tackles this trip for the first time, so PADLEYOUROWNCANOE is the each-way suggestion on the back of his recent Wincanton success.
That came over 2m 5f and Colin Tizzard’s five-year-old was strong at the finish. Harry Kimber’s 10lb claim is a huge plus and Padleyouowncanoe was useful enough to finish fourth in last season’s Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham.
At Lingfield, WISSAHICKON can add another win to his name in the Betway Winter Derby Trial. John Gosden’s colt sauntered to victory over 32 rivals in last season’s Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket and had more than two lengths to spare over Big Country when scoring here just before Christmas.
This dual course and distance winner is now 8lb worse off with Big Country but was well on top through the final furlong. Frankie Dettori gets the leg up.
APPLE’S JADE drops to two miles for the first time in more than two years, but should still have the legs of Supasundae and Melon. The Dublin track stages two days of top-class action, jam-packed with Cheltenham festival clues, so notebooks at the ready.
At Leopardstown, 19 runners line up for the Ladbrokes Hurdle over two miles. Hat-trick-seeking Wonder Laish is trading at fairly prohibitive odds and I’d rather have an each-way wager on the Willie Mullins-trained URADEL. Last year’s Cesarewitch runner-up has an attractive slot in the weights and Ruby Walsh prefers him over Mullins’ other two runners.
MIN hacked up in last year’s running of the Ladbrokes Chase, having ten lengths in hand of Simply Ned, and can land the odds.
18:20 Warwick - Race: 5
18:35 Thirsk - Race: 5
18:50 Warwick - Race: 6