ITV Racing Preview: Big weekend ahead for Nicholls and Stoute

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Cheltenham edges ever closer, but that doesn’t mean the National Hunt season just stops.

Oh, no – there’s still a cracking card from Kempton on Saturday, plus decent renewals from Lingfield and Newcastle, too.

The ITV racing crew will be at all three meetings to catch the action. And the Ladbrokes News team are here to examine the action ahead.

NAP – Cyrname – 1:50pm, Kempton

One of the most attractive aspects of Cyrname being raced Pendil Novices’ Chase is his trainer’s record here.

Paul Nicholls has made this race his own over the last decade, winning it seven times. And that’s before we even get to the horse itself.

He will be a big fancy here, particularly after his last run at Sandown where he was beaten by the hugely-impressive Terrefort.

Good ground – for the first time this season – is expected at Kempton and that will suit this six-year-old. With only three other runners in the field, Cyrname should have it all his own way here.

NB – Autocratic – 3:15pm, Lingfield

It’s Aidan O’Brien v Sir Michael Stoute in this renewal of the Winter Derby on the all-weather at Lingfield.

O’Brien’s Clear Skies is the current favourite but this is a big step-up for a horse who’s raced solely at Dundalk over the winter.

Granted, the five-year-old has won on five of his last six starts, but he has yet to go in a blacktype race.

Stoute’s Autocratic is a star at this distance plus has previous success at Group 3 level. He’s been well rested over the winter and should be a better bet at a larger price.

Lively Longshot – Art Mauresque – 3:35pm, Kempton

We’re heading back to Kempton for our Lively Longshot and it’s Art Mauresque who gets our vote.

Paul Nicholls’ charge steps back up in trip in this 3m renewal that will see him sink or swim, to a large extent.

However, his fantastic second to Cheltenham-bound Waiting Patiently here last month will have boosted his confidence.

He went down off the first fence in his last attempt at 3m so if he can clear that this time around, he could run very well at a double-figure price.

ITV Racing Tips:

1:50 Kempton – Cyrname (NAP)

2:05 Lingfield – Royal Birth

2:25 Kempton – Redicean

2:45 Newcastle – Houblon Des Obeaux e/w

3:00 Kempton – Mont Des Avaloirs

3:15 Lingfield – Autocratic (NB)

3:3 Kempton – Art Mauresque (Lively Longshot 

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Cian Carroll

Starting life as a football columnist for his local paper in Dundalk, Cian has written for a number of media outlets with pieces published in The Birmingham Mail and Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo. A lover of football, GAA, boxing, rugby and MMA, he’s a big Aston Villa and Dundalk fan. He can be regularly spotted on various mountain tops.