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HATS off to Kelso who have managed to put on a fantastic card for Saturday which is impressive given that we are now so close to the Cheltenham Festival. On top of that there is also great racing at Newbury and Doncaster.
I've managed to pick out 5 tips across the various cards and I'm hoping for a bumper Saturday. Have a listen to the Gambla racing podcast if you can where we chat about those tips and also touch on the Gordon Elliott scandal that has rocked racing this week:
My selections are as follows:
These veterans' chases are great fun and I think there are quite a few in with a chance here. The one I like the look of most though is SHANTOU VILLAGE who runs off bottom weight here and has the benefit of a decent young apprentice jockey in Millie Wonnacott taking a further 7lb off. That's a nice bonus on a horse who has had a decent season and will enjoy this better ground in a slightly easier race than he has been running in.
There are plenty in here with claims but THE BIG BITE looks really good value to me. I'm slightly concerned that he hasn't had much support in the market but I'm just assuming that is because there are other progressive horses like Umbrigado and Killer Clown who are attracting support. The Big Bite ran really well last time behind Ibleo with the rest of them strung well out in behind. This is just his sixth run over fences and I think he will continue to improve. He will probably need to do so to win but he hasn't been out of the top 2 in his last 4 runs and he should go close again at a double figure price.
The Twiston-Davies team are travelling a good old distance here to bring TORN AND FRAYED to the Scottish Borders and I think that could be a tip in itself. The horse won really impressively at Hereford last week and if this race hasn't come to soon he should run really well carrying a 7lb penalty for that win.
There's no doubt I'm taking a punt here but DRAGON BONES looks a big price to me given her bumper form. I find it interesting that Ian Williams is sending her here for her hurdles debut rather than starting her off in calmer waters. I'm hoping that means he thinks she has the quality to compete here and I'm hoping the 20-1 is smashed up on Saturday morning and she goes off much shorter before performing well.
My final selection for Saturday is another 20-1 shot. VOIX DU REVE is probably regarded by most as an old campaigner but the former Willie Mullins charge is only a nine year old and ran really well last time out. He is much better off at the weights this time than he was last time out compared to Christopher Wood and I was impressed by that 2nd place performance. The horse is still well handicapped on his best form and they now use 7lb claimer Oakley Brown which should be helpful too. The chances of the favourite The Shunter and the improving Faivoir are obvious but I would rather be with Voix Du Reve at a big price.
Enjoy the racing and keep an eye out for me later on Saturday: I'm waiting on prices for a horse at Huntingdon on Sunday and if I get what I'm looking for I'll let you all know.