We’re in for a treat on Saturday with a National, a Champion Hurdle and a Grade 1 to enjoy, all live on Channel 4.
The action from Ffos Las and Sandown is backed up by a competitive renewal of the Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby, with all those races covered by Ladbrokes fantastic Money Back offer (T&Cs here).
Of the five races outside of novice company set to be shown live on terrestrial TV, four see last year’s winners back to defend their crowns.
And it could be that at least two of them are very solid bets indeed this weekend…
Nick Williams’ gelding created history over Christmas, helping Lizzie Kelly to become the first female jockey to win a Grade 1 chase, and there’s every reason to believe she can double up here.
While the seven-year-old clearly stayed the three mile trip at Kempton, dropping back four furlongs for the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase should be no problem.
The Sandown track should play to his strengths too, with form figures going right handed reading 11111211 compared to 223P67 going the other way.
A switch to chasing looks to have brought plenty more out of the gelding, winning both his outings over fences in great style.
Two of his opponents from Boxing Day have opted to head to Wetherby for a Grade 2 and with this field not looking much stronger, he looks an excellent prospect.
When looking for a winner of the Welsh Champion Hurdle, there are few better people to turn to than Paul Nicholls who has saddled three winners and one runner-up from a total of four entrants.
He bagged this prize last year with Silsol, and conditions dictate that Jack Sherwood’s mount has a perfect opportunity to become just the third back-to-back winner of the limited handicap.
Potential to handle testing ground will be paramount, with Ffos Las one of the toughest tracks around when there is give underfoot, and with the ground described as ‘heavy’ it will be a slog.
The seven-year-old comes into this renewal after being well beaten chase contests over further, but looks sure to be suited to a return to the smaller obstacles and a drop back in trip.
He’s just three pounds higher in the weights than 12 months ago, but was an easy winner that time, giving him a big chance.
Suzy Smith’s charge sprung a 20/1 surprise in the Heroes Handicap Hurdle last year and looks likely to go off at a similar price this time round.
That’s not where the similarities end though, with his mark effectively being the same, as he is running from just out of the handicap here.
The nine-year-old is winless since that triumph but hasn’t been running abjectly, finishing fourth last time out behind a well handicapped David Pipe opponent.
While he might find one or two too good, nearly half of Smith’s runners over jumps this term have finished in the first four so you can be pretty sure that you will get a run for your money on the defending champion.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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