An excellent weekend is headlined by the fantastic card at Newbury on Sunday featuring the £125,00 Betfair Hurdle, while dual Randox Grand National hero Tiger Roll makes his return on the same afternoon at Navan.
There’s plenty to get stuck into beforehand though, with the William Hill Grand National Trial taking centre stage on a strong card at Haydock, while the Betway Kingwell Hurdle may offer up Unibet Champion Hurdle clues at Wincanton. Fingers crossed that Gowran beats the weather, too.
Below, we have picked out five horses to note live on Racing TV this Saturday.
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When: 3.18pm, Wincanton
Winner of this race last year, Tom Symonds’ stable star is out to repeat the feat and take his record to three from three this season.
Trainer Tom Symonds speaks to Nick Luck after a career highlight last time with victory in the Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham
The trainer has stated the Unibet Champion Hurdle is not the be-all and end-all for his six-year-old, but the clamour to take his chance at the Cheltenham Festival will rise with victory here and he looks the most solid option with a little bit of mileage in the current 15-8 on offer.
Song For Someone is the proven performer and arrives here after a career-best last time in unfavoured circumstances with when several omitted hurdle negating the asset of his excellent jumping in the Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Goshen really has something to prove now, while Navajo Pass is unlikely to be able to lead. Song For Someone is a strong stayer at this trip and, taking a tow just in behind the likely decent pace, could just have this run to suit.
When: 2.05 Haydock
The nine-year-old has always enjoyed a big reputation, but he’s now finding consistency later in his career and looks to have favourable conditions in the feature race over hurdles at Haydock.
He raced with real enthusiasm last time, jumping nicely and getting the better of a very decent yardstick in Lil Rockerfeller in a driving finish at Market Rasen. He should be able to adopt a similar forward position in a race that doesn’t look to have an abundance of pace.
Principal market rivals Itchy Feet and Emitom are reverting to hurdles in this assignment and neother have won a race for a year, while top-rated Lisnagar Oscar hasn’t been since November and connections will be mindful of defending his Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle title in just four weeks’ time.
When: 1.05 Wincanton
Pozo Emery could be a short price here for Paul Nicholls, but Earth Business took the eye with how he travelled on debut last time and stuck to his task well. He looked his best at the finish.
The performance is more notable given the Tizzard yard was not enjoying a great spell back in early November, while the stable is not known for bumper success – including jumpers’ bumpers for more experienced horses, Tizzard has trained eight winners from 117 runners in such races in the past five years.
The fact this horse shaped well is encouraging, and the race is working out well with the first and second Pavlovsky and Silent Revolution both going on to subsequent success.
Earth Business is by Westner and out of a Flemensfirth mare and should be suited by going up in trip, as he suggested in the run on debut. He stays to the minimum trip for now but can make his mark at two miles.
When: 3.14 Haydock
The highly-regarded and unbeaten juvenile is seemingly not heading to the Cheltenham Festival this season according to trainer Paul Nicholls – and Grade One honours for juveniles are also up for grabs at Aintree – but it will be interesting to see what the future looks like after this assignment in an exciting clash with the classy Nassalam.
Strictly on the form book, the Gary Moore runner sets the standard courtesy of his second to Adagio in Grade One company at Chepstow, while these testing conditions should not prove an issue and he’s likely to make this a test under David Noonan.
Yet on official ratings Monmiral is rated 143 with Nassalam just behind on 142. Hopefully both run their race in a potentially compelling contest that we can learn from.
When: 2.40 Haydock
Would there be a more popular winner all week?
The remarkable Perfect Candidate is no less than 14 years of age but still loving life as a racehorse, and he romped home last time over this course and distance back in November.
Going up 8lb in the handicap is rarely ideal – never mind for a horse at such an advanced stage of their career – but this out-and-out stayer is clearly very proficient over this particular test and has two wins and a second from three runs at the track.
Trainer Fergal O’Brien reports his veteran in good form, while regular rider Paddy Brennan maintains the partnership.
You suspect that some younger legs might catch him out, including Lord Du Mesnil who already holds Perfect Candidate on form. But there are nice prizes up for grabs for second and third in this £75,000 prize and the old boy might just have place prospects.Fancy winning a 50" television, a 12-month Racing TV subscription, a Reclining Armchair plus much more? Click here to enter our Ultimate Cheltenham At Home competition!
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