Alan Alger: Saturday racing tips for Cheltenham and Lingfield
There’s something for everyone on ITV this weekend, with the Open meeting over jumps and two competitive Listed races on the flat All-Weather surface.
1.50 – Handicap Chase (Cheltenham)
With only one winning favourite in the last decade, this has been a trappy race for punters down the years.
Horses aged either seven or eight have accounted for the last seven winners, so we need to focus on that age band.
VICENTE ticks plenty of boxes for me and is a very nice price considering the field size and the potential for an each-way bet.
He’s possibly been written off as a horse that likes to come to the boil in the latter part of the season, having scooped the last two Scottish Nationals.
But he has won at Cheltenham in the Autumn twice, as both a novice hurdler and novice chaser, and a big showing here is not beyond him.
2.25 – Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Cheltenham)
A competitive field for one of the biggest National Hunt prizes this side of Christmas.
The current field size will pay four places and there’s plenty of scope for a decent each-way bet.
This is another race where winning favourites are hard to come by, with just one in the last ten years, although the average price of the winner in that time is only around 10/1.
THEINVAL might be able to grind out a place at a big price with conditions to suit.
His trainer Nicky Henderson has a 28 per cent strike rate over the last fortnight, while jockey Jeremiah McGrath rode a winner for the stable on Thursday.
2.45 – Betway Churchill Stakes (Lingfield)
Godolphin are seeking a hat-trick in this contest after winning last year with Team Talk.
And the early market seems to be saying that this renewal is a match between their Boynton , and Victory Bond from the William Haggas stable, who were themselves winners of this race in 2014.
But I want to oppose both of the market leaders.
Horses aged three or four have won seven of the last eight versions of this race, and I really like the four-year-old PETITE JACK , who has the assistance of Lingfield specialist Luke Morris in the saddle.
This horse has won five of his six races around Lingfield’s All-Weather track, with the only defeat coming over an unsuitable two-mile trip.
This race is the hardest he’ll have in terms of class, but the speciality and suitability of the track to both jockey and mount could be enough to get at least a place return.
3.00 – Listed Handicap Hurdle (Cheltenham)
No fewer than four previous Cheltenham course winners line up for this prize in a field of nine.
And, in line with the previous Cheltenham races we’ve already mentioned, this is a tough one for punters with just the one winning favourite in the last decade.
In fact, three of the last four winners returned at prices of bigger than 12/1.
It’s absolutely vital to focus on horses carrying less than 11 stone here, who account for the last ten winners.
So cross the well-fancied Dell’ Arca and favourite Thomas Campbell off your lists.
It would be great to see a winner in Alan Potts’ colours after the very sad news of his passing this week, but SOLATENTIF has more than a sentimental chance.
He can reverse October placings with the aforementioned favourite over this slightly longer trip.
3.15 – Betway Golden Rose Stakes (Lingfield)
David O’Meara won this race with Lord Of The Land last year, and I think he can land back-to-back renewals with INTISAAB .
This six-furlong trip is ideal, and he was second in a Group 3 on the All-Weather at Newcastle back in July.
Jockey Martin Harley has a 15 per cent strike rate in races on the sand and is the ideal partner to put this six-year-old on the line where it matters.
3.30 – Intermediate Handicap Hurdle (Cheltenham)
For this race, history tells us that we need to focus on five and six-year-old horses towards the middle of the handicap at prices towards the middle of the market.
STAMP YOUR FEET is consistently involved towards the end of his races and can gain a welcome success for the Tom George stable.
His last two tries over extended trips have not been without promise as he stepped up from two miles.
He can stay on at the end and take this competitive heat.