It’s a busy Saturday of high-class racing on ITV with the Tingle Creek at Sandown taking centre stage, but a number of classy supporting acts both at that track and at Aintree.
Let’s get straight to it, and the 13:30 at Aintree is the 3m2f Becher Handicap Chase over the Grand National fences. Walk In The Mill hacked up in this last season but started this term with a pulled up effort. However, he now has the cheekpieces fitted and if anywhere near his form of 2018 he has every chance of hitting the frame again off a 4lb higher mark.
Next at Aintree is the 14:05, a Listed juvenile hurdle over 2m1f. Midnight’s Gift should take all the beating here for Alan King. My hope did well on jumps debut at Fakenham and was useful enough on the Flat. He can maintain an unbeaten record.
The 14:40 at Aintree is the Grade Many Clouds Chase over 3m1f. I love the Gold Cup hero Native River and while this track is sharp enough I fully expect him to take all the beating under a positive Richard Johnson. Have a few quid on him each-way for the Gold Cup itself while you are at it too!
Finally at Aintree, the 15:15 is a handicap chase over 2m5f. Touch Kick looked much improved at Fakenham first time this term and while he drops in trip here he should run a huge race. An improved performer for Paul Nicholls this season.
Meanwhile, the 13:50 at Sandown is the Grade 1 Henry VII Novices’ Chase over nearly 2m. Not a vintage renewal, and the one I like is Torpillo for Nigel Twiston-Davies. He has a bit to find on ratings, but gets weight for being a four-year-old and won nicely at Warwick last time. Can score for Daryl Jacob.
The 14:25 at Sandown is a Listed handicap hurdle over 2m. I’ll take a chance with Ashutor each-way here even though it’s some time since he won a race. The French import has a low weight and was far from disgraced at Ludlow last time. The trip is no worry and could be another for Nicholls.
The Grade 1 Tingle Creek comes up at 15:00 over nearly 2m. Un De Sceaux is not getting any younger but is a cracking each-way bet here at about 4/1. I think he would have to fall over to be out the top three, and on ratings he is the one to beat. Yes, he’s eleven years old now, but when we last saw him he was as good as ever at Punchestown. Come on Willie Mullins.
And lastly at Sandown there is a handicap chase over 3m5f at 3.35pm. Step Back did not perform to his best last term but runs this track well and if fit for the return has strong each-way claims for Mark Bradstock. He likes to go from the front and should get a positive ride.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
13:30 Aintree: Walk In The Mill – 15/2
14:05 Aintree: Midnight’s Gift – 11/4
14:40 Aintree: Native River – 8/11
15:15 Aintree: Touch Kick – 11/2
13:50 Sandown: Torpillo – 9/4
14:25 Sandown: Ashutor – 9/1
15:00 Sandown: Un De Sceaux – 4/1
15:35 Sandown: Step Back – 6/1
* All odds correct at time of posting.