The countdown to Cheltenham is on, and there could be a few more Festival indicators this Saturday across seven races from Kempton and Warwick.
Ballymore candidate Birchdale takes on Tidal Flow in the day’s big race – the Leamington Novices’ Hurdle. While our old favourite Black Corton faces a tough task at Kempton.
We’ve previewed all of the televised action in our ITV Racing Tips.
Top Notch heads back over fences after a sound return behind the progressive Paisley Park and West Approach in the Long Walk Hurdle on his reappearance last month.
That run should hold him in good stead. And with a record of seven wins from 11 runs over larger obstacles, it’s difficult to ignore the eight-year-old here.
Four of those successes came in Graded company – including when landing the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase in 2017.
With ground and trip both in his favour, we think the diminutive raider can edge Charbel and the tough-as-teak Black Corton at Kempton.
We’re off to Warwick next, as Colin Tizzard and Rockpoint bid to follow up their impressive victory in the Bristol Novices’ Chase with a big run in the Leamington Novices’ Hurdle.
The six-year-old was ridden prominently by Tom Scudamore at Cheltenham. The pair should adopt similar tactics here as connections go for a second Grade 2 win in a row.
He’ll carry a 5lb penalty for that success, but with questions hanging over the inexperienced Birchdale and Tidal Flow at this level, we like the each-way value about Tizzard’s charge.
There’s nothing like a juicy lively longshot to whet the appetite. So that’s exactly what we’re serving up in the McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Chase with Ultragold.
Tizzard’s charge did a sterling job to run into the places in the Becher Handicap Chase at Aintree last month. We think he can do the same here at Warwick at an even tastier price.
Critics will note the 11-year-old does his best work on Merseyside. But we’ve got every faith the Kapgarde gelding can run to a similar level in a wide-open field.
ITV Racing tips:
1:50 Warwick – Rocky’s Treasure
2:05 Kempton – Top Notch (NAP)
2:25 Warwick – Rockpoint (NAB)
2:40 Kempton – Erick Le Rouge
3:00 Warwick – Ultragold (Lively Longshot, each-way)
3:15 Kempton – Barney Dwan
3:35 Warwick – First Assignment
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All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication