WE RETURN to tipping on National Hunt Racing Saturday, with cards at Newcastle, Wincanton and a good card at Sandown Park, with those famous ‘railway’ fences posing an extra challenge to those hardened handicap chasers.
One of the highlights on that Sandown card is the Tolworth Hurdle, a Grade 1 novice hurdle, where Paul Nicholls has the expected favourite PROSPECT WELLS, who looks to be one of the leading novices in the country. He built on his Supreme Novice credentials when unluckily defeated by ante post favourite Steps to Freedom at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting, getting collared late on that occasion. He has since won a novice hurdle and then finished a solid fourth in the Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle at Ascot, a race where the form is working out well. There are other big, powerful stables represented such as Henderson, Pipe and Hobbs, which should make the race interesting. However, it should be another big Saturday prize for the Walsh/Nicholls team.
The feature race at Sandown is the 32Red.com handicap. This good prize has attracted some decent horses such as Exmoor Ranger, The Knox’s and Master of the Hall. I’ll be taking a chance with WYMOTT. He was punted of the boards, before labouring and pulling up, seemingly not suited by the heavy going at Newcastle recently. The ground at Sandown should be more suitable and I am still of the firm view that he is well handicapped.
Graham Lee rarely goes a meeting at Newcastle without going home with a winner, and he has a good book of rides on Saturday, with his best chance possibly being QUETZAL. He won a good race over course and distance last month, given a good ride by James Reveley and coasting home by five lengths. The gelding stayed very well that day and, given the likelihood of softer ground, he should stay the trip well.
Lee also rides MIGHTY MAGNUS and although he is still a maiden after seventeen attempts he could be worth taking a chance on. He seems to get on well with James Reveley, who has built up a good understanding with the horse and appears to get the best from him. His best runs have come on good to soft so Saturday’s ground might not inconvenience him unduly. The form of his last run has been franked too with Whatshallwedo and Strathaird both winning since finishing ahead of him last time out.
A jockey I have been really impressed with is Lucy Alexander, who looks extremely good value for her claim. She has ridden PAPMOA on his last two starts and he has shown dramatic progress. The form of his last four runs have been 3342 with the last two being in handicap company. The grey has been very patiently brought along by connections and his second behind Dusky Bob last time out was gutsy. He stayed on well on that occasion when challenging in the home straight, so the step up in trip may bring more improvement out of the seven year old.
13.25 (Newcastle) Quetzal
14.25 (Newcastle) Papamoa
15.00 (Newcastle) Mighty Magnus
14.35 (Sandown) Prospect Wells (Nap)
15.10 (Sandown) Wymott