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Saturday's expert tips - Henderson, Skelton, Tizzard and Scudamore discuss their runners at Newbury and Doncaster

Jonathan Vine 29 Dec 2018
Nicky Henderson poses at Ascot.

Using their respective bookmaker blogs, Nicky Henderson, Dan Skelton, Joe Tizzard and Tom Scudamore discuss their runners at Newbury and Doncaster on Saturday 29th December.

The final big race day of 2018 is upon us, with plenty of big races coming to us live on ITV. Using their respective bookmaker blogs with Unibet, Ladbrokes and Coral, top trainers Nicky Henderson and Dan Skelton, Colin Tizzard's son and assistant Joe, along with top jockey Tom Scudamore, discuss their chances in today's ITV races at Newbury and Doncaster.

Nicky Henderson (Unibet)

12:40 Introductory Hurdle
Champagne Platinum (Barry Geraghty)
He had a nice time at Newcastle on his debut for us and Barry liked him a lot so we thought slowly, slowly, catchy monkey was the best way forward and this looks a suitable race for him. These Introductory Hurdles are very useful although I have no idea about the form of the other horses but I think Champagne Platinum has improved a lot since his last run and learnt plenty too. This is a good track for him and I’m very hopeful. We’ve got a lot of novices in the same category as this one so it’s been a case of trying to keep them apart as much as possible and we’ve got to decide whether to run Birchdale or Rathill in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown next Saturday. I Can’t Explain will go to Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

1:50 Handicap Hurdle
Dragon D’Estruval (Daryl Jacob)
This looks a reasonable sort of race for him and he will have come on a lot for that first run (over 3m) last month. This trip should be ideal and while it’s quite a competitive race I think he could be well treated off a mark of 131.

3:00 G1 Challow Hurdle
Champ (Barry Geraghty) (11/8 Unibet)
We’ve had to be quite patient with him but it seems to have paid dividends as he was very impressive over course and distance in a Handicap last time, afterwhich he got put up 11lbs, so it’s a good job he’s still a novice which means this was the obvious race we should run in. I have just been told that he’s 8/1 favourite for the Ballymore Hurdle with Unibet so I suppose he’s got to win this then!

Wenyerreadyfreddie (Nico de Boinville)
He’s been doing very well but jumped badly left at Ascot last time, I don’t know why to be honest, but he’s going left handed here which will hopefully help. The soft ground wouldn’t be ideal although I don’t think the Chase course will be that bad and I’d be fairly confident about him getting the trip.

Onefitzall (James Bowen)
He’s having his first run for us and he’s owned by the Mick Fitzgerald Racing Club who thought a change of scenery might do him a little bit of good. This looks a good starting point and he’s been in good form and jumps well at home but we’ll have a better idea as to where we stand after this.

Dan Skelton poses at Huntingdon.

Dan Skelton (Ladbrokes)

Percy’s Word runs in the “Introductory” Hurdle (12.40) at Newbury, with Bridget Andrews on board.

We quite like him at home but there are a few horses in this race who have achieved a good bit already. This is a bit of a starting point for him and we will see where we are after. He’s done plenty of jumping and worked nicely so he should run OK.

We also run Knight In Dubai (1.50) back over hurdles, having fallen over fences at Cheltenham.

He gave himself a little cut that day so he hasn’t been seen since. He may just spend the rest of the year over hurdles before we go back chasing.

He had a productive year last year and who knew how he was going to run over fences the other day.

Harry Skelton goes to Doncaster for us and starts on Flash Of Steel (11.50), who was a bit keen the other day. Handicaps should suit him but he’s got top weight. We just want to see where he stands in handicaps off this mark.

Cabaret Queen (1.30) will love the track and the ground. It’s quite a competitive race but with conditions in her favour so she should run a good race. She was competitive last time at Ascot but the ground probably wasn’t in her favour.

Rene’s Girl (7/2 Ladbrokes) runs in the big mares’ race (2.05). She is a good mare over fences, winning this race last year. She is probably taking on stronger mares this year.

It wasn’t a bad run in Peterborough when she tried to serve it up the principles. We just paid the price for being up there the whole way at the closing stages. Hopefully back against the girls she’s got one of the leading chances.

Kasakh Noir (2.40) has been a horse who has been difficult to keep sound but we’ve been happy with him in the build up to this. He has done plenty at home.

Joe Tizzard with Native River during the national hunt trainer Colin Tizzard stable visit at Spurles Farm.

Joe Tizzard (Coral)


2.25 – Sandy Beach (5/1 Coral)

For whatever reason we couldn’t quite get Sandy Beach right last year, but we had his wind looked at and he did it nicely on his return at Uttoxeter last month.

He’s won at Newbury before and hopefully he’s still got a pound or two in hand here, it’s a competitive race but he should run well.

3.35 – Golden Sunrise & Mount Rushmoore

Both Golden Sunrise and Mount Rushmoore disappointed on their last runs. 

Golden Sunrise didn’t travel a yard at Uttoxeter, but he schooled brilliantly this morning [Friday], he’s definitely got potential although he might take a couple of runs to get his act together over fences.

Mount Rushmoore has been disappointing in his two runs this season, and looked bone idle with it! 

Like Golden Sunrise he has schooled well, we’ll put the cheek pieces on him to see if they help, there’s no doubt he’s got the ability, but it’s whether he shows it or not.


2.05 – Drinks Interval

This looks to be a lovely race for Drinks Interval.  She’s up against Lady Buttons who runs here rather than at Wetherby earlier in the week, but this 2 ½ mile trip on decent ground will really suit her.

If she runs like she did at Newbury last time, she could take a bit of beating. 

Tom Scudamore poses at Lingfield.

Tom Scudamore (Coral)


12.05 – Legal History

I start the day on Legal History, who is having his first run over hurdles.  He’s schooled nicely, and while it’s a competitive looking race, we’re hopeful of a nice start. 

His flat form is respectable, and he’s pleased us at home so I’m looking forward to this.

2.25 – Aurillac

Aurillac is coming back after a long lay off.  He showed some decent form in novice chases a while back, but was then pulled up on his last two runs, but he seems fit and well at home now. 

He showed some good course form a couple of years ago, but he is returning from a long time off and we’ll know more after tomorrow.

3.00 – Kateson (15/2 Coral)

I’m on Kateson for Tom Lacey in the Challow Hurdle, which is a cracking looking contest. 

His form has worked out well, especially his Chepstow win, which has thrown up winners all over the place!  He’s ready for this step up in class, is a horse I think an awful lot of, and I’m really looking forward to it.

3.35 – Mount Rushmore

My final ride here is on Mount Rushmore for the Tizzards.  We’ve got a bit to find on the handicap, but he showed bits of form in novice hurdles without getting his head in front. 

In his favour is the form of the yard, as we’ve seen in recent days, so we’re not without a chance.

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Saturday's expert tips - Henderson, Skelton, Tizzard and Scudamore discuss their runners at Newbury and Doncaster

Using their respective bookmaker blogs, Nicky Henderson, Dan Skelton, Joe Tizzard and Tom Scudamore discuss their runners at Newbury and Doncaster on Saturday 29th December.

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