Horse Racing tips: Your ITV Racing Cheat Sheet for Saturday’s action

If you need a steer that's why Paddy's pundits are here.

Aintree Cheat SHeet header Dec 4

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Alrighty then. It’s December, it’s cold, but there’s a shedload of ITV Racing on the tellybox to keep you warm with a belting double-header from Sandown & Aintree.

Now eight races takes some getting so we’ve drafted in the best in the business (in their own minds) to hopefully help guide you towards a winner or two across the cards.

WELCOME TO PADDY POWER!

And whether the Grade One action from Sandown’s two mile speedsters in the Tingle Creek Chase or the spectacle of Aintree Grand National wannabees in the Becher Chase floats your boat, we’ve got you covered.

So step forward Matt Chapman, Ruby Walsh, Mick Fitzgerald, and the clock-watchers at Timeform for their shrewd insight, unrivalled knowledge and frankly best guesses on who might get their head in front where it counts on Saturday.

 

Matt Chapman

Ruby Walsh

Mick Fitzgerald

Timeform

Matt Chapman

WHITE PEPPER will be hard to beat at a track that will play to her strengths. A decent enough Flat performer with a rating up to 84, White Pepper scored well at Galway last time staying on strongly for Gavin Cromwell and Conor McNamara who keeps the ride.

Ruby Walsh

I fancy WHITE PEPPER for Gavin Cromwell. She won on slow ground at Galway in October and stayed really well.

Mick Fitzgerald

I was really impressed with MALAKAHNA at Fakenham as it was her first run in this country and it was a very taking win.

Timeform

Following a promising hurdles debut effort, it was hard not to be impressed with the manner of WHITE PEPPER‘s runaway Galway success in October, and with further progress distinctly possible, she earns the vote to follow up.

Matt Chapman

THIRD TIME LUCKI is a super exciting horse and I can’t wait to see him bounding over the Railway fences for Dan and Harry Skelton. The one-time Cheltenham bumper fourth and County sixth has looked exceptional in two chase wins at Cheltenham and I won’t be opposing him until he does something wrong.

Ruby Walsh

I can’t see past THIRD TIME LUCKI for the Skeltons. The pace he can sustain through the middle third of the race is impressive and that’ll be perfect for Sandown. Harry Skelton will let him attack the fences and it’ll be catch me if you can!

Mick Fitzgerald

THIRD TIME LUCKI was so good at Cheltenham on his last two outings and he is very hard to get away from at a track that puts a premium on good jumping and the ability to travel

Timeform

THIRD TIME LUCKI has been an impressive winner of his 2 chase starts at Cheltenham and is fancied to provide Dan and Harry Skelton with back-to-back wins in this contest.

Matt Chapman

Should be a strong gallop on here and Native River is unlikely to get it easy up front. That should set up victory for PROTEKTORAT who should get home over this tight track even with some juice in the ground.

Ruby Walsh

The question surrounding Protektorat and Imperial Aura is whether they will stay. IMPERIAL AURA is shaped like a horse that should but I hope David Bass doesn’t ride him like he wants three and a half miles. He’s not a slow horse. If I had to pick, I’d go with him but I’m not confident on either.

Mick Fitzgerald

We just don’t know how the Betfair Chase would have turned out had IMPERIAL AURA not fallen, but his trainer David Bass is adamant he would have played a part in the finish. I feel he’s right and for that reason I am punting on him here.

Timeform

SIMPLY THE BETTS finished behind Protektorat in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham, but that was a most encouraging effort given that he was returning from a year off and the combination of this step up in trip and sharper track could be just the tonic.

Matt Chapman

I have long been in no doubt CHACUN POUR SOI is an exceptional horse and I fully expect him to take this prize for Ireland’s champion Willie Mullins and his son Patrick. Chacun finished last season with a third behind Put the Kettle On in the Champion Chase which was a shocking effort to be quite honest. I don’t think he was right. He went on to Punchestown, though, and slammed Allaho in the Grade 1 there. At his best he’s a monster.

Ruby Walsh

CHACUN POUR SOI has only ran once in the UK and Sandown will suit him. He’s in really good form and he’s a great jumper.

Mick Fitzgerald

NUBE NEGRA is fit after a run at Cheltenham last month, is stronger this year and the Dan Skelton team are flying. That makes him is the obvious one to take on Chacun Pour Soi with.

Timeform

CHACUN POUR SOI might have fluffed his lines in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham but he’s been imperious on all 4 other starts at Grade 1 level over the past 22 months, including in the Punchestown Champion Chase when last seen in April, and is clearly the one to beat.

Matt Chapman

VIEUX LION ROUGE might be twelve but there is no reason why he won’t run another big one at his favourite track.

Ruby Walsh

I like horses having their first go at Aintree so I’m going with ACHILLE. He’s had a few big layoffs and is lightly run considering he’s 11 years old. Charlie Deutsch and Venetia Williams, it’s a yard in form, that’ll do me!

Mick Fitzgerald

This is a fantastic opportunity for SNOW LEOPARDESS to follow up her comfortable success at Bangor. She will handle the ground, ticks a lot of the boxes required and she’d be one I’d look forward to riding round here.

Timeform

SNOW LEOPARDESS produced a superb display of jumping when making all at Bangor on her return and she looks tailor-made for these fences. 

Matt Chapman

Trained by David Bridgwater, SALTY BOY is a really strong stayer and he’s got strong claims with Mitchell Bastyan taking off 3lb. The racing weight of 10st 7lb is perfect.

Ruby Walsh

I’m on SALTY BOY. I thought the 5lb penalty for his win at Fontwell last month wasn’t overly harsh. He won with plenty up his sleeve and Mitchell Bastyan gave him a great ride. He stays well and he can win this one.

Mick Fitzgerald

CHRISTMAS IN APRIL ran well behind Hold That Taught, a very highly thought of Venetia Williams horse, at Carlisle last time out. He has won the Sussex National Handicap Chase and the Colin Tizzard yard is still flying, that’s why he gets the nod here.

Timeform

DEISE ABA returned with a solid showing over hurdles and has scored on both previous visits to this track, so he gets the marginal vote in an open-looking contest.

Matt Chapman

STORM NELSON might need a bit further and he’s up the handicap for three wins when last seen. That said, he was improving fast last term and if Sandy Thomson has him ready he could run a big race eachway for Henry Brooke.

Ruby Walsh

I’m going for MIDNIGHT RIVER for Bridget Andrews and Dan Skelton. He fell on his chasing debut at Carlisle but he won at Ascot in February and the form looks decent.

Mick Fitzgerald

Olly Murphy’s TAMAR BRIDGE is highly thought of and bolted up from Storm Of Light – a subsequent winner at Uttoxeter – at Wetherby at the end of October. He could still be very well handicapped in this and he is on the up.

Timeform

Tom Lacey sent out Kateson to land this in 2020 and might be able to stage a repeat courtesy of POUNDING POET, who lost his unbeaten record in handicaps on his C&D return but still shaped well in second so can improve again and strike under Robbie Dunne.

Matt Chapman

Very tricky stuff! NATURAL HISTORY should be a very well handicapped horse for Gary Moore but he flopped badly at Fontwell when last seen. I’ll give him one more go here under Niall Houlihan. Have a few quid on eachway at long odds.

Ruby Walsh

METIER disappointed in the Supreme Novice behind Appreciate It but at 144, there’s still a lot to work with.

Mick Fitzgerald

Harry Fry is having a much better time of things this season and METIER, who won the Grade 1 Tolwroth Novices’ Hurdle at this track in January, brings a bit of class here.

Timeform

ELHAM VALLEY has the distinction of being the only horse to have inflicted defeat on Hudson de Grugy at Sandown, and he looks capable of winning a race of this nature judged on his fine effort at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

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