Horse Racing tips: Frank Hickey’s fab fancies for Saturday’s ITV Racing

You don't have to ask Frank twice for some Saturday tips.

Frank Hickey Staker Wallace

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* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

Warwick 13:18 – Sky Pirate

Brave Seasca is obviously very progressive and is 2-3 over fences and in handicaps. Venetia Williams in great form still too. Not Available is also in here in search off a hat trick and he might ensure a strong pace with Brave Seasca. Sky Pirate isn’t hiding too much from the handicapper but he is still only 5lb higher than his Grand Annual win last March and won this race last season off a mark of 145.

He hasn’t been beaten far in two handicaps at Cheltenham in October (when 6l second to Before Midnight off 159) and at Ascot in November (fourth beaten 4l behind Before Midnight). He was third in the Desert Orchid at Kempton, 13l behind Shishkin but was only beaten 3l by Greaneteen. He’s not up to Grade 1 level, but he’s capable off this mark and the set up of the race might really suit.

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Kempton 13:32 – Champagne Court

Champagne Court was fourth in the Martin Pipe Hurdle at Cheltenham as a novice off 126, but improved for fences when getting to a mark of 143. He really struggled last season but Jeremy Scott wasn’t absolutely firing, but has really hit form since the beginning of December, with seven winners from 38 runners in that period and another 12 hitting the first three. Champagne Court has been in much better form this season, finishing second at Fontwell on his return behind a really nice horse of Gary Moore’s and he was 13l clear of the third.

He then wasn’t beaten far in third at Sandown behind Jesuitique who has won since again and the second, Beaufort, ran Dashel Drasher close at Newbury on his next start. Champagne Court then won at Exeter over hurdles last month over 2m2f in a useful looking race (off a mark of 126). He goes back over fences now and with his confidence restored he would look well treated on his chase form from two seasons ago.

Warwick 13:50 – Threeunderthrufive

Mossy Fen won the Grade 2 Leamington Novices Hurdles in 2020 (had Shan Blue back in third) and wasn’t disgraced when fifth in that season’s Ballymore Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. He struggled in two novice chases at Cheltenham last season and has not been seen since November 2020. He’s now with Christian Williams and is one that is half interesting. That said, it is very difficult to oppose Threeunderthrufive even allowing for the fact that he has to concede a 5lb penalty to the rest of the field.

He has won his last three over fences, including a Grade 2 at Doncaster last time (three runner race). He is versatile with regards to ground, winning on decent ground this season but he has won on soft and heavy previously. He might just get his own way out in front here and might just have a touch more class than this field (unless Mossy Fen were to bounce back to somewhere near his best).

Kempton 14:05 – Mister Fisher

Rouge Vif is untested at this trip but only had the one start for Paul Nicholls and is getting 6lbs from Mister Fisher and Eldorado Allen. Defi Du Seuil has looked a shadow of himself since he disappointed in the Champion Chase when he was a short priced favourite a couple of years ago. Eldorado Allen ran a fair race when third in the Peterborough Chase and also won the Haldon Gold Cup.

The penalty leaves him vulnerable here, but at least the Colin Tizzard form looks to be turning. Mister Fisher found the King George too hot, but away from Grade 1 company he is pretty solid. He won the re-scheduled Peterborough chase last season at Cheltenham and ran Frodon very close at Sandown in the Oaksey Chase. His only two previous starts at Kempton were a bumper win and a win in a novice hurdle where he beat Rouge Vif.

Warwick 14:25 – Stag Horn

Surrey Quest has looked good in two starts over hurdles, winning at Leicester over 2m 4f and at Doncaster over a similar trip. My only small niggle with him is that he went off 11/4 (in a three runner race) and 11/1 in those two races. Does that suggest he shows very little at home? Stag Horn looks worth taking a chance on. He was a very useful stayer on the Flat, particularly when encountering testing ground. He won handicaps off 81 and 90 in 2020 before finishing that flat season with a wide margin win in a conditions race at Pontefract over 2m 2f on soft ground.

This season he was fourth in the Queen Alexandra at Royal Ascot behind Stratum, Calling The Wind and The Grand Visir, but had the likes of Barbados and Falcon Eight behind. He finished the Flat season winning the same Pontefract race, though was entitled to win that easily on ratings.

He did it nicely enough on hurdles debut at Hereford on good ground in December (was getting 7lb from World Of Dreams). World Of Dreams has come out and won nicely on his next start to frank the form and they were well clear of the third. That was on good ground and you have to imagine Stag Horn will improve for getting on some soft ground. He’s rated 103 on the Flat, so could go a fair way over jumps if he’s able to transfer that ability. Archie Watson doesn’t have too many jumpers but he is operating at a 25 per cent strike rate over hurdles in the last five years.

Kempton-Park-Jumps-racing

Kempton 14:40 – Monte Cristo

Nicky Henderson might have a more obvious contender in Marie’s Rock, who was a revelation last time when stepped up to this trip for the first time and she could well be up to defying a 9lb rise if in the same form. Monte Cristo is far from consistent, but his win on his only previous visit to Kempton was fairly taking.

He bolted up off a mark of 133 (when an unconsidered 25/1 shot), beating the likes of Ecco, Riggs and Whatsupwithyou. He was midfield in the Coral Cup and not disgraced at Aintree. He was poor at Newbury but he may have badly needed the run. He’s only 6lbs higher than they win here last season and looks worth taking a chance on at the prices.

Warwick 15:00 – Corach Rambler

From what I can see, Lucinda Russell has only had one runner in this race in the last 10 years, her Aintree Grand National winner, One For Arthur, who won this back in 2017. It’s interesting she pitches Corach Rambler in here on just his fourth start over fences but he does lack big field experience. Only on his hurdles debut did he encounter a field of more than 10. In fact the field sizes of all his races under rules are 14,9,5,8,4,6,7,6. That said, I really like how he has won his last two starts at Aintree and Cheltenham. At Aintree. He easily beat Sail Away off a mark of 127 and that horse gave Dusart a fright at Leicester on Wednesday.

At Cheltenham, he defied a 7lb rise to win nicely, despite hanging up the run in. It did suggest to me that he was keeping a bit back for himself. He is an eight-year-old, so I’m not worried about this test for him and I don’t think a mark of 142 is beyond him. I’m half tempted to back him for the National Hunt Chase now at the Festival in March (33/1 in places). If he wins, he surely will be rated around 150 when reassessed and that would have him in and around the main players, while he also has course form at Cheltenham.

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Kempton 15:15 – Mac Tottie

I have question marks over everything in this race. I’m not giving up on Mac Tottie yet as he was a good winner of the Grand Sefton off 135. He fell in the Becher Chase and proper testing ground in the Welsh National wouldn’t have suited him but was pulled up relatively early. He did win at Market Rasen last season, so going right-handed here should be no issue. Wishing And Hoping is the only other pace angle where he could get a bit of an advantage.

Warwick 15:35 – Riggs

Who is using this to qualify for the Pertemps Final in March at the Festival and who is actually out to win, is a key question. Sire Du Berlais and The Jam Man are surely just trying to qualify? Sporting John is rated 151, so does he really want to be winning and get another hike? Keeper Hill won this in 2019 off just a 1lb lower mark but has struggled in recent times. Alaphilippe is having his first start since his fifth place finish in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Hurdle last season. He’s interesting off 140, but he might just need this run and is one to keep an eye on with the final in mind come March

I wouldn’t be sure that Riggs would get into the final off his current mark of 132, so he probably needs to go up 4lb or 5lbs at least, to be sure. He’s unexposed over 3m, and posted a career best last time in the Betfair Exchange Stayers Hurdle at Haydock when second to Dans Le Vent off a mark of 127. The fifth (Flight Deck), Orbys Legend (seventh) and Gladiateur Allen (eighth) have all won since from that race to give the form a solid look. Riggs is only seven years old and is surely capable of rating higher than 132.

Saturday’s tips:

Warwick 13:18 – Sky Pirate
Kempton 13:32 – Champagne Court
Warwick 13:50 – Threeunderthrufive
Kempton 14:05 – Mister Fisher
Warwick 14:25 – Stag Horn
Kempton 14:40 – Monte Cristo
Warwick 15:00 – Corach Rambler
Kempton 15:15 – Mac Tottie
Warwick 15:35 – Riggs

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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