There’s another busy day of top class action on ITV this Saturday with Sandown being the main focus with the mighty Altior returning in the Tingle Creek at 2.25pm, which doubles up as the fourth Paddy Power Millionaire Chase qualifier.
We have two races over the Grand National fences up at Aintree. We also have a real cracker for the staying horses in the Many Clouds chase, including a previous Gold Cup winner and the horse who finished second in this year’s renewal.
This lad has won the last two of these and just loves the place. His comeback run was encouraging and his record here is appealing. Paul Nicholls’ Yal Enki was placed in a Welsh National so there’s no stamina worries for him and he has to be on the shortlist too, but Walk In The Mill is the one.
I was working at Ffos Las when Hitman made his debut in the UK and was blown away by what I saw. He is only a four-year-old so receives a weight for age allowance from the older horses.
He jumped pretty well on the whole, the only concern being the fences at Sandown take a lot more jumping than those at Ffos Las. The ability is there but it’s whether the whole package holds up under the pressure of a better race.
Allmankind jumped really well at Warwick and will go a gallop here. Phoenix Way is the interesting one as he looked way better than his mark when he won at Warwick. It wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if he won. I am hoping Hitman’s jumping holds up, if he falters Phoenix Way will take advantage.
Megan looked really good when winning at Leicester on soft ground, and unless pots of money comes in the market for Her Indoors or Army of One she is the one.
- CHECK OUT OUR BRAND NEW SNAZZY RACECARDS FOR EVERY SINGLE RACE TODAY
- … THEN GET ALL THE WINNERS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE WITH OUR FAST RESULTS PAGES
Lots of people are saying that as a 10-year-old Altior is beatable, but he has not been beaten many times in his career and only once over fences so he still sets a very good standard. He’s a lot fitter than he was for his first run of the season last year and I think he will win. When I watched him jumping yesterday I was very impressed with what I saw.
Politologue is the reigning champion chaser and it is a good opportunity for him having previously won at this iconic track. Connections will feel it is his best chance of beating him, something he has not done in three goes so far! Castlegrace Paddy is no mug and beat A Plus Tard last time so he could fill a place. But it’s Altior all the way.
THIS IS THE FOURTH QUALIFYING RACE FOR PADDY POWER’S MILLIONAIRE CHASE – WHERE WE’RE GIVING AWAY A MILLION QUID ON NEW YEAR’S DAY!
WANT TO KNOW MORE? FULL DETAILS ARE HERE.
Santini was runner up in the Gold Cup this year and you could argue was unlucky in the run. Frodon won nicely when brilliantly ridden at Cheltenham last time. Gold Cup winner Native River is back too so this is set up to be a great race.
Santini normally needs his first run of the season and this track will not play to his strengths, but he has won a Grade 1 at the track over hurdles so at least has some course form. If he is to be beaten it could be today with Frodon primed for it. If it turns into a slog it will help Santini.
Cloudy Glen loved the step up in trip at Fontwell and has been hit with a 11lb rise for his win. He sets a good standard and will take some beating with conditions in his favour.
I am not convinced with Modus’ jumping around here and that has put me off him. Lord du Mesnil would almost be better in the Beecher Chase but is a strong jumper and stayer so if it gets very soft he could well take advantage. Sametegal is the one I like, he has been running consistently and if handling the fences will take a bit of beating.
Solo was strongly fancied by many for the Triumph but was disappointing. He didn’t impress either in his comeback run at Wincanton and has some questions to answer. He will however like conditions here at Sandown and can’t be discounted.
Mister Coffey won at the track last time and got a hefty rise, but he was impressive and has been in good form since. Jollys Cracked It is dangerously well handicapped and with a good 7lb claimer on board is the each-way selection.
Mick Fitzgerald’s Saturday Selections
Aintree 13:30 – Walk in the Mill
Sandown 13:50 – Hitman
Aintree 14:05 – Megan
Sandown 14:25 – Altior
Aintree 14:40 – Santini
Sandown 15:00 – Cloudy Glen
Aintree 15:15 – Sametegal
Sandown 15:35 – Jollys Cracked It (Each-Way)
- Matt Chapman’s 8 top tips for Saturday’s racing
- Paddy Power’s selections for all of the best action on Saturday
- Paul Jacobs’ 3 value picks for Saturday