Alan Thomson's two tips won yesterday and our resident racing tipster has lined up a handful of juicy wagers for saturdays racing action.
DUBAI WARRIOR (2.00) can repeat last year's victory in the 1m 2f Listed contest at Lingfield.
Rab Havlin steered his mount to a wide-margin success 12 months ago but this year's renewal looks a good deal tougher, with the likes of talented Sangorius and Bangkok in opposition. However, Dubai Warrior, a three-time course and distance scorer, sets the bar high.
THYME HILL (2.25) is fancied to confirm recent places with Paisley Park in the Long Walk Hurdle at muddy Ascot.
The young pretender mastered his main rival by more than a length when they clashed in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury’s big November fixture and could emerge as the UK’s No 1 contender for the stayers’ crown at Cheltenham in March.
The Philip Hobbs-trained six-year-old looked a shade unlucky when squeezed out before the last flight in a strongly-contested Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle won by Monkfish at the Cheltenham festival. Paisley Park beat West Approach in this race 12 months ago and seems sure to give a bold account.
Jonjo O’Neill has already mopped up one big Saturday handicap courtesy of Cloth Cap in last month’s Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury and QUARENTA (3.00) has live prospects in the Good Luck Hollie In SPOTY Silver Cup Handicap Chase. The gelding had very little to spare at the line when scoring over course and distance on comeback but was always travelling like the winner. He remains at the right end of the weights.
The Conditional ran an excellent race in the Ladbrokes Trophy, moving strongly up the straight before a lack of peak condition possibly told in the latter stages as he faded into third. He ended last season on a high note when landing the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham (Quarenta brought down) but all his UK runs have come on left-handed tracks.
It is never wise to ignore course specialist Regal Encore at his beloved Ascot and the veteran should figure along with Espoir De Guye, a dual course winner over shorter trips for Venetia Williams.
The 17-runner Betfair-sponsored handicap hurdle is jam-packed with improving young horses and ARRIVEDERCI (3.35) falls into that category. The five-year-old, running for the O’Neill stable in the same colours as Quarenta, was still travelling powerfully when falling three out at Haydock and remains on a fair mark. A tongue-tie is applied for the first time.
Henderson saddles top weight Buzz and unexposed Time Flies By. Buzz has been lumbered with an 11lb rise for last month’s eye-catching course and distance victory, while the JP McManus-owned Time Flies By lingers at the other end of the weights on 10st 7lb.
Alan King’s easy Leicester winner Isolate is right at the foot of the handicap and Dr Richard Newland’s Benson is sure to prove popular, despite a 10lb hike for winning comfortably on heavy ground at Sandown two weeks ago.
The Irish have the knack of scooping major handicaps on UK soil and Peter Fahey’s Belfast Banter could prove competitively treated off 10st 7lb.
There are some aspiring young hurdlers going to post for the Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle at Haydock and recent course and distance winner WAR LORD (2.05) can make light of a 7lb rise. Colin Tizzard’s five-year-old had previously chased home Arrivederci on comeback at Wetherby.