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Dave Nevison's top tips for Saturday: Rely on The Russian Doyen

By Dave Nevison
Fri 8 Nov 2019

Hopefully an excellent race meeting at Aintree on Saturday will take at least half of Liverpool’s mind off the six-pointer that will take place at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

There is certainly no shortage of decent races to get stuck into. I’ve got two big fancies at Aintree plus another more speculative selection at Kelso.

1.55 Kelso: Slanelough

I am throwing caution to the wind with this one.

The seven-year-old, trained by Rose Dobbin, has not completed in his past three three starts and so I will definitely not be backing him each-way!

I had a result with Jonniesofa, his stablemate, last weekend and am going to be with most of the stable’s runners for a few more weeks given that some will be well handicapped after the dismal form of the yard last term.

Slanelough has shown promise over fences, despite the letters in his form, and is worth a bet at a price.

2.05 Aintree: The Russian Doyen

The Russian Doyen is a second-season chaser to be with in my view and the handicapper may have been generous to drop him 1lb for what I thought was a very good effort when fourth in the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on his final run last season.

He stumbled badly turning in there and would have finished closer but for that.

The six-year-old jumped well in the main as a novice and with normal improvement in that department could take high rank over the months ahead.

Duke Street was impressive when winning over hurdles at Cheltenham last time but he had an excellent 10lb claimer on board that day and, back over fences, is 8lb higher as well.

2.40 Aintree: Skandiburg

Skandiburg has gone up 4lb for his short-head defeat at Market Rasen last month when a mistake at the last cost him victory.

He still looks well enough weighted for this Pertemps qualifier and definitely shapes as though the extended 3m trip, which he attempts for the first time, will suit.

Olly Murphy, his trainer, has had a frustrating glut of seconds - Thomas Darby the latest at Warwick on Friday - but I suspect now that most are on their second run his normal impressive win strike-rate will be resumed.

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