Alan Thomson is sweet on an Irish raider at Kelso on a good Saturday of Racing
THE SHUNTER (3.15) can plunder the juicy £47,000 pot up for grabs in the bet365 Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso.
Irish horses could run riot (again) at the upcoming Cheltenham jamboree and Emmet Mullins is putting down a pre-Festival marker for the Emerald Isle by sending over his useful eight-year-old against 13 rivals.
The Shunter took full advantage of his light weight to beat brave Ballyandy in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in mid-November and is only 7lb higher today on the back of a third over fences at Leopardstown four weeks ago.
Dan Skelton’s Faivour is a most progressive six-year-old, winning three of his last four starts, but the handicapper has hiked him up 12lb for edging out Minella Drama at Haydock.
Christopher Wood has been raised 7lb for landing the Scottish County Hurdle at Musselburgh and may have trouble confirming places with runner-up Voix Du Reve.
The Skelton team strip MY DROGO (1.30) in the 2m 2f novices’ hurdle and the warm favourite had subsequent Betfair Hurdle winner Soaring Glory well held in third when winning at Ascot before Christmas.
Paul Nicholls launches another cross-border raid and Lucky One thumped Natural History by 20 lengths at Wincanton.
The runner-up came out to land the odds at Plumpton earlier this week, so the form is solid.
Lucky One was 12 lengths adrift of re-opposing Any News at Cheltenham in December, so has something to find with Neil Mulholland’s gelding, while Bareback Jack is unbeaten in four starts for Donald McCain.
The bet365 Premier Chase over 2m 7f sees recent Warwick protagonists Two For Gold and Aso locking horns again in a cracking contest.
CLOTH CAP (2.40) has been raised 12lb for his impressive Ladbrokes Trophy triumph at Newbury but should be in the firing line sporting the Trevor Hemmings colours, which are also worn by Lake View Lad.
The latter was just too quick for Santini and Native River at Aintree when fences in the home straight were omitted due to the low sun.
Lake View Lad got bogged down last time at soggy Sandown and has been eased 5lb. Last year’s winner Definitly Red adds further lustre to the race.
CANELO (3.30) makes plenty of appeal for JP McManus and Alan King in the 3m 2f Virgin Bet Grimthorpe Handicap Chase at Doncaster.
A dual winner already this winter, at Aintree and Wetherby, Canelo was not disgraced when filling third spot behind Takingrisks and Aye Right here in the Sky Bet Chase 35 days ago.
Chidswell, winner of this race two years ago, is one to consider at bigger odds.
At Newbury, PRESENT MAN (1.15) can give Bryony Frost a great spin in the 3m 2f BetVictor Veterans’ Handicap Chase. The top weight goes well fresh and kicked off the current campaign with a victory over Crosspark at Chepstow.
He wasn’t so good on his next two starts, at Wincanton and Warwick, but takes on slightly inferior opposition off a nice break.
Sir Ivan, third to Seeyouatmidnight at Sandown, may be the one to beat.