Alan Kelly: Tips For Saturday's ITV Racing

Kelso, Newbury & Doncaster Provide a Bumper Ten-Race Coverage by ITV Racing Cameras on Saturday Afternoon

The fact that the 2022 Cheltenham Festival is little more than a week away does not prevent the sport of jump racing from staging some excellent action in the run-up to the four-day extravaganza at Prestbury Park.

ITV cameras will show all of the main races from Kelso, Newbury and Doncaster, including the Listed bet365 Premier Chase at the Borders racecourse, Newbury’s BetVictor Greatwood Gold Cup, with the ninth of the ten races covered coming at Town Moor courtesy of the Virgin Bet Grimthorpe Handicap Chase at 3.30pm.

1.15pm Newbury. 3m 2f

Our Tip: Christmas In April @ 9/1 with 8888port (Each-Way)

It could be worth taking a chance on the Colin Tizzard-trained Christmas In April in this wide-open veterans’ chase. Brendan Powell’s mount has struggled on his last three starts but now runs off 2lb lower mark than when winning a decent handicap at Newton Abbot last May.

The 10-year-old needs to settle better than when well-beaten at Wincanton last month but with the stable hitting a bit of form is capable of winning this off his current mark.

1.32pm Kelso. 2m 2f

Our Tip: Richmond Lake @ 2/1 with bet365

An excellent renewal of this Grade 2 novices’ hurdle in which all nine runners have winning form to their name. A case can be made for most of the field who are all on an upward curve and open to plenty more improvement. But after giving top novice hurdler Jonbon a bit of a fright at Haydock last time, the Donald McCain-trained Richmond Lake can provide champion jockey elect Brian Hughes with yet another winner. 

A turnaround of 6lb in the weights with Alan King’s North Lodge should enable Richmond Lake to reverse the length and a quarter he was beaten by that horse at Aintree last December.

1.50pm Newbury. 2m 4f

Our Tip: Dublin Four @ 4/1 with bet365

Ten runners for this Grade 3 handicap chase and the two horses who make most appeal are bottom weights Glen Forsa and Dublin Four. The former seemed to appreciate being held up when running out a comfortable winner at Musselburgh last month and similar tactics could see the gelding go close again.

The partnership of trainer Fergal O’Brien and jockey Paddy Brennan are having a good season and in November course and distance winner Dublin Four they stand a good chance of landing another valuable prize. The eight-year-old fell on his most recent start at Ludlow but this normally fluent jumper, who has a good record fresh, can make the most of the weight he receives from his nine rivals.

2.05pm Kelso. 2m 5f

Our Tip: Famous Bridge @ 7/2 with BetVictor

The promising Famous Bridge was just coming through to take the lead on his handicap debut over today’s course and distance last month when backed as if defeat was out of the question, going off at odds of ½.

Unfortunately, just when the race looked his for the taking, the Nicky Richards-trained six-year-old, after jumping awkwardly, unseated rider Brian Hughes at the second-last hurdle. The handicapper has only put the lightly-raced gelding up 1lb, a mark which looks very much on the lenient side.

2.20pm Doncaster. 3m 1/2f

Our Tip: So Said I @ 12/1 with Betfred (Each-Way)

Rated at least 9lb higher than any of her nine rivals, the Dan Skelton-trained Get A Tonic is clearly the one to beat in this 3m Listed mares’ novices’ hurdle.

The mount of Bridgit Andrews offers nothing in the way of value at a short price however, whereas So Said I from the Colin Tizzard stable makes plenty of each-way appeal following her easy victory in a Newbury handicap last month.

2.40pm Kelso. 2m 7 1/2f

Our Tip: Espoir De Romay @ 9/4 with bet365

The Kim Bailey-trained Espoir De Romay looked like beating Chantry House and Shan Blue when coming to grief at the second-last fence in a Grade 1 at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.

The mount of David Bass has not been seen since finishing third at Carlisle last October. But the talented chaser has an excellent record fresh and is expected to outclass his six rivals.

2.55pm Doncaster. 2m 1/2f

Our Tip: The Big Bite @ 3/1 with Paddy Power

The Big Bite returned to something like his best form when finishing a length second to the high-class Funambule Sivola over today’s course and distance in January and a similar effort should see the nine-year-old go close.

The main danger would have been the Donald McCain-trained Gaelik Coast, now a non-runner, which leaves bottom weight Cedar Hill as the one most likely to chase The Big Bite home. 

3.15pm Kelso. 2m

Our Tip: Autumn Evening @ 6/1 with 888sport

Top weight Buveur D’Air faces a formidable task on the 11-year-old’s  first start in eleven months. While the ground may not be testing enough for the Harry Fry-trained Metier. Autumn Evening makes the journey from Ireland and Jessica Harrington’s charge, who has not been given an entry at the Cheltenham Festival, can gain some compensation for going close at the Dublin Racing Festival by taking this valuable handicap hurdle.

3.30pm Doncaster. 3m 2f

Our Tip: Cloth Cap @ 6/1 with bet365

A slightly disappointing turnout for this valuable 3m 2f handicap chase which has attracted only the eight runners. The hat-trick-seeking Le Milos is an improving young staying chaser. But this looks a good opportunity for top weight Cloth Cap to head towards next month’s Randox Grand National with a win under his belt.

Last season’s easy Ladbroke Trophy winner has faced some stiff tests this season and off a 1lb lower mark than when sent off the 11/2 favourite at Aintree last year, Tom Scudamore’s mount can outstay his rivals providing the ground doesn’t deteriorate too much.

3.43pm Kelso. 2m 1f

Our Tip: Dubai Days @ 4/1 with Unibet

An open race to end the afternoon’s TV coverage with all seven runners for this 2m 1f novices’ limited handicap chase having a chance. With plenty of winning form on soft ground and talented 5lb claimer Bruce Lynn in the saddle, bottom weight Dubai Days ticks plenty of boxes in an open contest.

Three From Home Podcast

With the 2022 Cheltenham Festival little more than a week away, Ed Quigley, Kate Tracey and Frankie Foster dissect this weekend’s excellent jump racing in the run-up to the four-day extravaganza at Prestbury Park.

The trio take a good look at the Listed bet365 Premier Chase at Kelso, Newbury’s BetVictor Greatwood Gold Cup, and then head to Town Moor for the Virgin Bet Grimthorpe Handicap Chase at 3.30pm.

As well as detailing their weekend selections, they also declare their Three From Home Podcast NAPs Of The Week.

Your Racing Weekend Starts Here!