I HAD two tidy winners last Saturday and it really should have been three because I've no idea how Diego Du Charmil didn't win after cruising into the lead.
Anyway, Highway One O Two (4-1) and Dubai Warrior (2-1) both did the business so let's hope I can carry that form into this week and then on to the Cheltenham Festival in March. If you haven't already had a listen to our Cheltenham Championship Races Preview then get involved in that for some useful info on the big races. We'll also be back soon with a podcast preview of the novice races and some early handicap value so keep your eyes peeled for that.
My selections for Saturday are as follows:
I like the chances of GEORDIE B for Venetia Williams and Aidan Coleman in this one. He is a progressive staying hurdler and the soft ground should be to his liking. He needed a run to get going last winter so I can see him improving nicely for his season opener last time out.
DOLOS is an improving horse and I think he can continue to impress over this sort of trip on soft ground. He is now at an all-time high handicap mark but is only a 7 year old. I can see him continuing his improvement and in time may prove to be a graded horse in handicap company.
The attraction of the improving Calva D'Auge for Paul Nicholls is obvious and his horses that travel up north for these sort of races tend to do well however I think the value lies with CLONDAW CAITLIN. She will be ridden by the peerless Brian Hughes, has won her last two races by a distance and gets a nice weight allowance due to being a mare racing against geldings. I like the fact that her win at Wetherby in December has been supported strongly by the horse who finished third that day winning not once but twice since then. It isn't top class form but it just strengthens the idea that Clondaw Caitlin has the bit of quality she will need to beat the Nicholls horse here.
I thought that CLONDAW CASTLE was being aimed at a tilt at one of the festival handicaps so it took me by surprise that he won last time out and it was a pain in the neck really because I had backed him a couple of times previously when he was placed. Now that he has got that win I think he can go on again and take this against some fairly exposed horses. I was surprised to see 8-1 available and I think that's a very fair price for an in-form horse with conditions to suit.
This should be a real test in soft or heavy ground and one who will relish that is CAPTAIN CHAOS. He is a solid staying chaser and the Skeltons aren't bringing him up to Doncaster for a day out so I expect him to go very close.
12:00 Sedgefield - Race: 1
12:20 Yarmouth - Race: 1