Racing Betting Tips Irish Grand National 3m 5f Fairyhouse Easter Monday

Irish Grand National 3m5f Fairyhouse Easter Monday

Willie Mullins, (who has never won the race, although his father Paddy was three times successful), tries with his National Hunt Chase 4th Perfect Gentleman,and looks to have a serious chance.

First run in 1870 over a distance of 3m4f, the trip was increased to 3m5f in1991. Historically it had been something of a Dreaper family benefit, with the legendary Tom (trained Arkle) winning nine renewals, including with the great horse in 1964. Tom actually won the race on an unprecedented seven consecutive times between 1961 and 1966, and son Jim continued the good work with four victories, that included a hat trick between 1974 and 1976. Alas, the last time the winner was led up by a Dreaper was back in 1978, when Brown Lad won with an impost of 12st2lbs on his back.

Perhaps this unhappy state of affairs can be rectified this year by Jim’s live contender, Los Amigos. Weight has been most important, with only three winners carrying more than 11st, to victory, since the immortal Desert Orchid won with 12st on his back in 1990. Unusually for such a competitive race, relatively inexperienced animals have thrived, with none of the last ten winners having had more than a dozen runs over the larger obstacles. Indeed, counting the 6yo Garoupe in 1970, nineteen novices, including last years winner Shutthefrontdoor, have hit the back of the net. So what of this years renewal?

Willie Mullins, ( who has never won the race, although his father Paddy was three times successful ), tries with his National Hunt Chase 4th Perfect Gentleman,and looks to have a serious chance. Jumping soundly in the four mile test at Cheltenham, he took it up at the 16th, and only faded into fourth place, when not quite seeing out the trip. He enjoys a 6lbs turn around with the National Hunt Chase winner Cause of Causes, so this lightly raced 10yo, with less than 11st on his back, must have serious prospects of correcting a serious gap in the Mullins C.V.

The previously mentioned Los Amigos is Definitley one to consider. On only his third outing over fences, in last years Thystes Chase, he ran a fine race to finish runner up to the subsequent shd Gold Cup second On his Own, off a mark of 126. He then ran the useful Gallant Oscar ( rec 11lbs) to 3 1/4L when finishing 3rd at Naas (3m sft March 2014). We didn’t see him again until his reappearance at Fairyhouse at the end of January, where he proved his wellbeing, beating the 134 rated Lion Na Bearni (2m5 1/2F sft-hvy). Bred to be a stayer, Jim Dreapers Overbury gelding looks well treated off a mark of 138, and is one for the short list.

Another Lightly raced animal to be interested in is the Ted Walsh trained Champagne James. A very well backed favourite for the 3m2f Kim Muir at the Festival, he wasn’t the recipient of one of Katie Walsh’s best rides. Always behind when held up out the back, he was never in a position to challenge, but did run on through beaten horses to finish 7th. Perhaps the faster ground at Cheltenham was against him, as he does seem well suited by plenty of give, well demonstrated by his run at Naas in Febuary (2m4f sft-hvy), when despite losing a shoe, he was a closing second to Empire of Dirt,(rec 6lbs) who was rated 125. His style of racing strongly suggests that staying is his game, and given easy conditions at the weekend, he is one to consider.

Lucy Wadham’s 7yo La Reve, has won three of his twelve starts over fences, and off Monday’s Mark of 147 is likely to carry more than 11st, but still makes some appeal. He does love racing right handed, and has won five, and been placed four times, from his twelve clockwise starts, so Saturday’s track should be ideal. A reproduction of his run at Sandown at the end of January (3m1/2f sft) where he won very easily from that good yardstick Theatrical Star, would put him firmly in the mix.

Michael Hourigan’s 7yo The Job Is Right is another who may be well suited by Monday’s test. He finished third in The National Hunt Chase (5L ahead of Perfect Gentleman), where he led at the last ( normally the 2nd last) and was only run out of it in the last 100yds, finishing 3rd, (1 1/2L and 5L) behind Cause of Causes, and Broadway Buffalo. Reservations for Monday would be his very hard race at Cheltenham, and his less than fluent jumping.

Selection: Perfect Gentleman.

E.W. : Los Amigos.

The John Smith Novices Handicap Chase (Cl 2) 2m5 1/2f Kelso Sat 3.25

Leading trainer at the Scottish track over the last five years, Cheshire based handler Donald McCain is represented by the 6yo gelding Degooch.

Leading trainer at the Scottish track over the last five years, Cheshire based handler Donald McCain is represented by the 6yo gelding Degooch.

Leading trainer at the Scottish track over the last five years, Cheshire based handler Donald McCain is represented by the 6yo gelding Degooch. He has been plying his trade at Cl 4 level and Saturday’s task represents a considerable step up in class, but he did win very comfortably at Sedgfield last time ( 2m4f soft handicap chase ). He has only been raised 4lbs for Saturday giving him a nice racing weight of 10st 7lbs, so with these connections, it would be no great surprise to see this progressive young chaser bridge that class divide.

Having won a Cl1 bumper and a Cl3 chase, Malcolm Jefferson’s joint top weight Oscar Rock is the class act of the race. He was quite impressive last time out ( 21 Feb Newcastle 2m4f gd/sft Cl3 handicap chase ) where having raced prominently, he made smooth headway to lead at the last, and despite idling in front won comfortably. As this was only his second start over the larger obstacles plenty of progress can be anticipated, making his 6lbs rise look less than onerous. In his only other chase ( Kelso 7 Dec 2m7 1/2f soft ), when finishing second, he didn’t seem to get home over the trip,suggesting that Saturday’s distance may prove ideal.

Having won on four of his seven course appearances, the thouroughly genuine Philip Kirby trained Stopped Out has to be of interest. He has combined a hurdling and chasing career to such good effect that he has won ten and been placed eleven times from his fourty three starts. It has to be said that only two of these successes have been acheived over the larger obstacles, but one of them was last time out in a Cl3 Novice chase ( 2m6 1/2f Market Rasen ) where he beat Minella Forfitness and the 2/5 favourite Close Touch. Can he be improving as a chaser at the age of ten? Time will tell, but he is of some interest racing off a mark 4lbs lower than his hurdles rating on a track he clearly enjoys.

Selection: Degooch.

Danger: Oscar Rock.

Betfred Grand National Trial 3m4f Chase Haydock Saturday

David Pipe’s Broadway Buffalo

Twice a course winner, David Pipe’s Broadway Buffalo certainly seems to enjoy the Lancashire air. He looked the finished article when trotting up over the course ( 3m hvy ) in December, off a mark of 129, only to disappoint six days later at Wetherby.

As a pointer to the winner of the big one at Aintree, Saturday’s race has been something of an irrelevance as none of the last ten winners of this have been involved at the business end of the National. Indeed with this years renewal being run before the weights for the big race have even been published, one has to assume that Aintree in April will not be uppermost in connections minds.

However it is a very valuable and competitive affair which certainly stands on it’s own merits. As would be expected at Haydock this time of the year, with the surface invariably testing, Saturday’s trial is going to put a huge emphasis on stamina. All previous winners had winning form over at least three miles. Weight is also significant with only two, Silver by Nature, ( 2011 ) and Miko de Beauchene , ( 2008 ) managing to carry more than 11st to victory over the past decade. Both carried 11st12lbs. Lucinda Russell has been the most successful handler, scoring twice with Silver by Nature over the same period. Age has been no bar to success, with two eleven year olds and a ten year old winning in the last ten years, but significantly these older animals had been relatively lightly raced, contesting less than fourteen chases.

Paul Nicholls who won with Shotgun Willy in 2003, is represented by the current favourite, (5/1) and top weight Benvolio (11st 10lbs). He ran a super race in the Wesh National, where having disputed the lead for the entire distance (3m 5 1/2f), in stamina sapping conditions, he was just run out of it in the final stride, going down by a shd to Emperors Choice, with Saturday’s opponent Glenquest 2 1/2l back in third. Now 6lbs higher and 4lbs worse of with Glenquest, he has his work cut out on Saturday. However he has been given a six week break to recover from his Chepstow exertions and coming from this yard is hard to dismiss.

Nigel Twiston-Davies trains the lightly raced 10yo Benbens, who has had only nine races over fences and certainly looks interesting. He ran Saturday’s opponent, Samstown, to a nk over the course four weeks ago, ( 3m1f chase ) and meets that rival on 9lbs ( including Ryan Hatch’s 5lbs claim ) better terms on Saturday. He finished like a train to make up 5l from the last on the winner, and while some would argue that Samstown was idling in front, a 9lb pull looks significant and he is shortlisted. Samstown on the other hand, has no record of carrying big weights in handicaps and with a welter weight of 11st11lbs this out and out stayer is reluctantly passed over.

Having finished fourth in both the Hennessy and the Welsh National Michael Scudamore’s Monbeg Dude deserves consideration . He is 8lbs better off with Benvolio for the 8 3/4L he was behind him at Chepstow, and this sometimes careless jumper, might well be suited by Haydocks less demanding obstacles. A winner of the Welsh National on heavy ground two years ago he certainly should’nt fail on the stamina front, but is another burdened with 11st11lbs.

Twice a course winner, David Pipe’s Broadway Buffalo certainly seems to enjoy the Lancashire air. He looked the finished article when trotting up over the course ( 3m hvy ) in December, off a mark of 129, only to disappoint six days later at Wetherby. He can easily be forgiven this lapse as in all probability the race came too soon. Being by a son of Theatrical, out of a Le Bavard mare, he is bred to stay all day, so returned to his favourite track ( two wins from two outings ) he is another for the shortlist.

Lucinda Russell runs the relatively lightly raced 11yo, Lie for It, who has raced eleven times over fences. He put up a strong staying performance at Kelso last time, ( 3m2f hvy ) beating a rejuvenated Harry the Viking by 2L. Both animals will appreciate the extra two furlongs at the weekend, particularly Sandy Thomson’s 10yo, who boasts a second in the 4m National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Certainly if the weather stays dry Harry the Viking on 5lbs better terms must have prospects of reversing the Kelso form.

Only 1lb higher than when finishing a close third in last years Scottish National, Tim Easterby’s Trustan Times looks well treated. A winner of the Cl 1 Gd3 fixed brush hurdle over the course a couple of seasons ago, ( £45,000. To the winner ) he hasn’t shown much in his three outings since his fine third in the Scottish race. However the stable has been badly out of form since October, and only recently has shown signs of a revival. Indeed the horse himself showed some promise last time at Musselburgh, so it would be no great surprise to see a prominent performance at the weekend.

Alpha Victor is an out and out stayer who has a 100 0/0 record over the course. He finished second off a mark of 138 in a 3m1f hurdle and races on Saturday off 133, giving him a nice racing weight of 11st. He thrives on heavy ground, so if conditions deteriorate,he would be well worth considering.

Gas Line Boy looked progressive when winning twice in November. He won off a mark of 128 at the beginning of November, and 18 days later hosed up by 13L from the subsequent Welsh National winner Emperors Choice over the course ( 3m5f ) off a mark of 132. He was pulled up in the Welsh National, possibly because of the attritional conditions, off a mark of 147, so doesn’t appear too badly treated off 142 on Saturday. Given decent ground at the weekend, another worth a second look.

Selection: Broadway Buffalo

E.W. :Benbens

Racing Betting Tips Preview Betfred Mobile Heroes Handicap Hurdle Sandown

David Pipe Trainer

David Pipe’s Batavir heads the market at around 5/1, and certainly looks the pick of his two runners, as the second string Taj Badalandabad seems better suited by shorter than Saturday’s test.

Having been successful in three of the last ten renewals, Paul Nicholl’s two candidates bear close inspection. Last time out his 6yo Silsol ran as well as could be expected, when finishing 5th, (btn 18l) behind Rock on Ruby and co, at Cheltenham on New Years Day. Prior to that he had looked very progressive, winning three races in a row, culminating with a victory at Newbury off a mark of 144.

This was fully 20lbs higher than his previous handicap win off 124 at Ayr in April. Now raised to a mark of 151, one feels He can still be competitive, as stamina shouldn’t be an issue, (has won over 2m6f Newton Abbot) and is one for the shortlist. Nicholl’s other runner, the ex French 5yo Rothman is interesting. On only his 2nd racecourse appearance, in testing ground, he collected a £12,000 first prize at Pau in the French provinces, last January. He disappointed, when odds on for his British debut at Newton Abbot in April, and further disaster followed when falling at the first on his seasonal reappearance in November. He showed considerably more promise last time at Taunton finishing 4th 5 3/4l behind Pull The Chord. Although a 5yo has failed to win this over the last decade four have been placed, so coming from this yard, and with his featherweight of 10st1lb it would be no surprise to see him involved at the business end on Saturday.

David Pipe’s Batavir (also engaged Welsh Champion Hurdle Saturday) heads the market at around 5/1, and certainly looks the pick of his two runners, as the second string Taj Badalandabad seems better suited by shorter than Saturday’s test. Batavir, a French bred 6yo has been highly progressive since making his British debut at the end of November. He has collected a cl3 hurdle at Ascot (Dec19th 2m6f sft) of a mark of 119, and followed up seven days later with a win in a cl2 at Wincanton off 125 (2m6f gd/sft). Raised another 7lbs for Saturday, he still looks well treated, and has a nice racing weight of 10st7lbs. He is also entered in the Welsh Champion Hurdle (2 1/2mls) on Saturday, but the right handed track and distance of the Sandown race should be much more in his favour, so presumably he will be heading in the Esher direction at the weekend. Definitley one for the short list!

Neil Kings highly consistent 7yo Saffron Wells, ran one of the best races of his career, over the Sandown course last March ( 2m4f cl1 ) where he finished a staying on second on soft ground off a mark of 126. Back to the scene of that sterling performance it isn’t difficult to envisage him running another good race, but it has to be said, that despite failing to hit the back of the net since, the handicapper has been relentless, and he is now racing off a mark of 135.

Harry fry’s Polamco is another with a progressive profile. A winner of his last two races he is only 4lbs higher than last time, where he had Saffron Wells 2 3/4l back in third. ( Dec2 Newbury 2ml 5f ). He did race very freely, so ridden with more restraint on Saturday, although 3lbs worse of with Saffron Wells, he must have excellent prospects of confirming the form.

Despite mistakes three out and at the last, Emma Lavelle’s 6yo Junction Fourteen got to within 7l of Batavir at Wincanton, and is now 7lbs better off. He also holds another of Saturday’s contenders, Little Boy Boru on Newbury running in November, so it would be no surprise to see this son of Kings Theatre getting involved.

Fourth of four doesn’t seem like much of a recommendation, but the race that Foryourinformation finished last in at Newbury in November worked out extremely well, with the three animals ahead of him all winning next time out. The third horse that day, Tea For Two ( who was receiving 2lbs ) and 2l ahead of him, absoloutely hosed up in a cl1 handicap at Kempton by 16l and 1l from Little Boy Boru and Saffron Wells. A strict interpretation of the form would give Rebecca Curtis’s lightly raced 6yo every chance on Saturday, but he is more likely to take up his engagement in the Welsh Champion Hurdle.

Of the Longsdon two runners I prefer the stoutly bred Harristown, ( by Bering out of a Sadlers Wells mare ). So far he has been campaigned at shorter distances, and is bound to be suited by Saturday’s step up in trip. He wasn’t stopping last time out over 2m3 1/2f on testing ground at Lingfield where he was just held by Lightentertainment, who has gone in again since. He seems to handle heavy ground particularly well, so any deterioration in conditions would be in his favour.

Selection: Batavir.

EW : Harristown.

Peter Marsh Chase Haydock Racing Betting Tips


Trained by the leading course trainer, Donald Mc Cain, Corrin Wood has a fine chance. After only six starts over the larger obstacles, and having won 3 of them, he is already rated 16lbs above his hurdle mark.

First held in 1981, the inaugural running was won by Little Owl who went on to victory in that years Cheltenham Gold Cup. The following four renewals saw two more Gold Cup winners in Bregawn and The Thinker winning here. Winner of this in 1993 and 1997 the great Jodami also got his name on the Gold Cup roll of honour yet again highlighting what a top class race the Peter Marsh can be. While nothing of Gold Cup standard has emerged in recent years it continues to be a race that attracts good class fields, and is always competitive. The classier animal has been most successful in the last four renewals, all having shouldered more than 11st. This could be partly down to the revamping of the course in recent years which has undoubtedly left it a considerably less demanding test. So what of this years race?

Sue Smith, who has won this with The Last Fling ( 2000 ) and Arctic Jack ( 2004 ) and who does so well with these staying chasers, runs Vintage Star and No Planning. Vintage Star was quietly fancied at Wetherby on Boxing Day but having made a mistake at the 2nd fence never got competitive. However it’s worth noting that he is owned by Trevor Hemmings, who loves to win at Haydock, is 4lbs lower than Wetherby, and will be well suited by Saturday’s much slower ground,so definitley worth a second look. Sue Smiths other runner No Planning also ran at Wetherby on Boxing Day, winning over hurdles,denying the four times seeking Spanish Fleet by a nk. However that was off a mark of 130 and Saturday’s test off a mark 17lbs higher looks more problematical.

Oliver Sherwood’s Global Power who was a late withdrawal from last Saturday’s Classic Chase at Warwick, ( this columns e.w. Selection ) due to a bruised foot, is of interest. Sherwood was particularly upset to have missed the Warwick race as he had the beating of the 2nd home there, Theatrical Star, on previous Fontwell form. Global Power thrives on ground that is virtually unraceable so Saturday’s likely conditions should be right up his street and perhaps compensation awaits.

Nigel Twiston-Davis’s lightly raced 10yo Benbens didn’t quite get home in the Welsh National where he finished 5th. He had been well in contention until the third last, and a return to the 5f shorter trip on Saturday should be in his favour. The one concern would be very heavy conditions, as he has never performed on anything worse than soft.

There are no such concerns about Lucinda Russell’s Green Flag who thrives in such conditions. Having won his first three chases, he was stepped up in class at Kempton in Dec 2013 and ran a very promising race, finishing 2nd to the very useful Annacotty. He made a very satisfactory reappearance finishing 4th to the subsequent Hennessy winner Many Clouds at Carlisle. He then disappointed in the Becher Chase at Aintree, but is easily forgiven that lapse. Having won on heavy ground at Hexham, Newcastle, and Ayr, Saturday’s conditions will hold no fears and off a mark of 140, with a nice racing weight of 10st10lbs he does look well handicapped. He is one of Saturday’s classier runners, and it isn’t difficult to see him being involved at the business end.

Another who looks to be on a good mark is Venetia Williams’s mud lover Bennys Mist. Out of his seven starts on heavy ground he has won six, so his excellent 3rd behind Poole Master and Cedre Bleu on gd/sft ground over the National fences, last time out, off a mark of 138 was highly commendable. Given a mark of 139 for Saturday seems generous, and with Venetia’s talent for getting the best from her team in testing conditions, he is another for the short list.

Trained by the leading course trainer, Donald Mc Cain, Corrin Wood deserves a mention. After only six starts over the larger obstacles, and having won 3 of them, he is already rated 16lbs above his hurdle mark. On his second outing this season he ran well enough at Wetherby on Boxing Day, where, despite stumbling after jumping the 5th last, he finished 3rd off a mark of 147. He is one of the few in the race to have been competing at cl1 level, looks well treated off a mark of 146, and will handle the conditions, so this progressive animal must be considered.

Selection: Corrin Wood.

E.W: Green Flag.

Racing Betting Tips Betfred Classic Chase At Warwick

Shotgun Paddy

Last years winner, Shotgun Paddy is only 4lbs higher this time round so must be seriously considered.

First run as the Classic Chase in 2004, it originally was called the Warwick National Chase. With 3m 5f to travel and 22 of Warwicks tricky fences to negotiate it is not a race for the faint hearted and is a contest on the schedule of many Grand National aspirants. Interestingly no horse has managed the double to date. Weight has been no bar to success with four winners shouldering more than 11st in the past decade. There have been no winners younger than seven and the 11yo D’Argent has been the oldest animal to win in the same timespan. Alan King and Paul Nicholls have both trained two winners, with Colin Tizzard, Emma Lavelle, and Venetia Williams on the scoresheet once. Experience while desirable, is not essential. Baron Windrush and Eurotrek, winners in 2005 and 2006 had only competed in ten chases between them, and last years winner, Shotgun Paddy, was having only his fourth outing over the larger obstacles.

Philip Hobbs’s Return Spring with only three runs in chases has a somewhat similar profile in this years renewal, and at the time of writing heads the market at 5/1. A latecomer to chasing, he has performed with credit in his last two races. Last time he ran third to the highly promising Kings Palace and his own stable companion Sausalito Sunrise at Cheltenham in December, having previously got the better of Highland Retreat in a 3ml novices chase on heavy ground at Exeter. However both races were four runner affairs, so it remains to be seen how he copes with Saturday’s large field. On the plus side judging from his breeding ( by Vinnie Roe out of a Supreme Leader mare ) and his racecourse appearances, he is all about stamina, so should be well served by Saturday’s likely conditions.

Last years winner, Shotgun Paddy is only 4lbs higher this time round so must be seriously considered. In last years renewal he beat that hardy old warrior Carruthers, ( 11lbs better off this year ) by 6l and went on to run a marvellous race in the 4ml amateur chase at the Cheltenham festival going down by a hd to Midnight Prayer. Brought along slowly by his excellent trainer, Emma Lavelle, he was having only his second run since Cheltenham, when nearly capsizing at the 2nd in the Welsh National. He was pulled up five fences later, and in view of the awful ground this may well have been a blessing in disguise. Definitley one for the short list!

Martin Keighley’s Benbane Head ran a fine race four weeks ago. The evergreen 11yo stayed on strongly up the Cheltenham hill to draw clear of the well backed favourite The Ould Lad to win by 9l off a mark of 127. He is up a quite severe looking 8lbs on Saturday, but will have the benefit of Conor Shoemarks 3lbs claim. While he did win a bumper on heavy ground, testing conditions, one feels would be against him.

Oliver Sherwood’s Global Power has a nice racing weight of 10st7lbs and looks well treated. Having his first run for 12 months, and probably needing it he was beaten 7l by Ballyoliver at Carlisle. He is 6lbs better off on Saturday so must have good prospects of reversing the form, particularly as he improved again to run Theatrical Star to a nk at Fontwell despite making a mistake at the last. Given testing conditions at the weekend he is well worth considering.

Alan Kings 2011 winner, the 13yo West End Rocker is another defying old Father Time. He showed that he still has what it takes when winning a veterans race when ploughing through the mud at Lingfield in December off a mark of 135. Despite a 4lb rise he is only 6lbs higher than 2011 and as his trainer reports him to be in top condition he is another to consider.

Venetia William’s 10yo Rigadin de Beauchene has to defy a 21lbs higher mark than when successful in 2013. He has not run for nearly nine months but did win a cl1 gd3 chase at Haydock last Febuary very easily off a mark of131 after a similar break. He is obviously an animal that goes well fresh but having been pulled up in four of his last races and now racing off 143 he is hard to recommend. Perhaps the stables best chance is with their other runner Ballyoliver.

Selection: Shotgun Paddy.

E.W : Global Power.

Racing Betting Tips 32Red Casino Handicap Chase

Racing Betting Tips 32Red Casino Handicap Chase

Paul Nicholls’ Unioniste is the Oddsguru racing tip to land the spoils at Sandown.

After such an intense period of high class racing Saturday’s fare comes as something of an anticlimax. However the finale at Sandown, a class 2 handicap chase over 3ml 1/2f with a guaranteed pot of £50,000. Promises to be a highly competitive and interesting affair. Favourite backers should beware as the ” jolly ” has failed to hit the back of the net over the last decade. Weight has been significant in the same period with no animal carrying more than 11st 6lbs to victory. Age has not been significant, with 7yo’s to 11yo’s winning. No stable has dominated over the past ten years, but the currently high flying Venetia Williams has had a winner and a placed horse from only seven runners. Gary Moore’s only entry in the same period was placed and the Nicholls yard has managed two places from ten runners. Philip Hobbs has had two placed from only three runners. So what of this years renewal?

Having won last year with the 7yo Katenko, Venetia is going for the double with the 11yo veteran Relax. A course and distance winner last Febuary, following a nine month absence, he reappeared at Chepstow four weeks ago, and acquitted himself well, finishing fourth 15l behind Rebecca’s Choice. Now racing off a mark 2lbs lower than Chepstow he is well worth considering, particularly if conditions deteriorate as he handles testing going well.

Despite some indifferent jumping, Paul Nicholls 8yo Unioniste made a highly satisfactory reappearance in the Hennessy Gold Cup at the end of November. Considering he was struggling in last place after fourteen fences he did well to finish in sixth, running on strongly through beaten horses. As this was his first outing for nearly eight months considerable improvement can be expected. He has yet to win going right handed but there is no reason to think that he will be inconvenienced by Sandown. The handicapper has been generous in dropping him 3lbs since Newbury so it is not difficult to imagine him running on strongly up the Sandown hill, so definitley one for the short list.

Leading trainer at Sandown Nicky Henderson runs top weight Triolo D’Alene. He looked to be a chaser going places when winning two good races in April 2013 and was as short as 10/1 when running in the Gold Cup where he finished 10th. He got as far as Beechers the second time when pulled up in the National,and was diagnosed with a breathing problem. He again failed to complete on his reappearance in the Hennessy, but as it was his first run since Aintree perhaps he can be excused, and coming from this yard it would be no surprise to see this classy animal involved on Saturday.

Winner of his last two races Philip Hobbs’s Bertie Boru is of interest. He stayed on well in a truly run race at Newbury ( 2ml 6 1/2f sft ) to suggest that Saturday’s trip will be well within his compass. Relativley lightly raced, he has been raised 6lbs for his Newbury efforts,but this still leaves him with a nice racing weight of 10st7lbs. As all ground comes alike to him, and he is effective going right handed, his prospects of bringing up the treble on Saturday look rosy.

Bob Buckler’s 8yo Tinker Time is two from two over the larger obstacles. He ran a fine race on his reappearance ( his first run over fences ) to beat Bucks Magic, jumping well over Kempton’s tricky obstacles. He went on to surprise much better fancied opponents in a conditions race at Newbury sixteen days ago beating Masters Hill and Easter Day. The handicapper has raised him 11lbs but it is unlikely we have seen the best of this very progressive animal. ( Interestingly, the conditions of Saturday’s race state that a horse such as Tinker Time, who has competed in only two chases, in order to qualify to run, must have been placed in the first four in both races. )

Tom George’s ex Irish What’s Happening with his light weight of 10st3lbs is worth a second look . He ran well last time over 3ml 5 1/2f at Sandown finishing third. He probably didn’t quite stay that day and will be better suited by Saturday’s distance. A winner of two chases,both going right handed in his native country, the weekend test may well be right up his street.

Course and distance winner Firm Order is stepping up in class, but with only 10st2lbs to shoulder he must be considered. Last time out he stayed on well to beat the 13/8 fav Handy Andy over course and distance, and has only been raised 3lbs, so it would be no surprise to see him involved at the business end.

A reproduction of vino Griego’s Aintree form in April, when just run out of it by Duke of Lucca, with Unioniste back in eighth would give him every chance. However he ran so poorly in the Hennessy, despite his excellent trainers good Sandown record, is passed over.

Selection: Unioniste

E.W : What’s Happening