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ITV Racing – Selections for Saturday’s Bumper Nine Race Show on ITV4

ITV Racing Best Bets for Saturday, January 15

ITV Racing opens at the slightly earlier time of 1:05 pm on ITV4 on Saturday. The show will be hosting five live races from Warwick and four races at Kempton. Our expert has previewed all nine races and highlighted a selection for each contest. 

Sky Pirate (13:18 Warwick)

Jonjo O’Neill’s SKY PIRATE landed the spoils in last years renewal before going on to festival glory in the Grade 3 Grand Annual, defeating Irish raider Entoucas by a short-head. 

The nine-year-old returned in October and found the frame in two valuable handicap chases at Cheltenham and Ascot before finishing third in the Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase behind Tingle Creek winner Greaneteen and the best two-mile novice chaser of last season, Shishkin. 

Sky Pirate will have to concede plenty of weight to his seven rivals but he is a top handicapper at this sort of level and should have far too much class for the opposition on Saturday afternoon.

Champagne Court (13:32 Kempton)

It was a welcome return to winning ways last time out for CHAMPAGNE COURT over hurdles when staying on gamely over an extended 2m2f at Exeter. Jeremy Scott’s charge has seemingly returned to form in the last few runs over the smaller obstacles and has sound claims reverting to fences for the first time since May last year. 

Champagne Court ran creditably when last seen over fences when finding the frame at Newton Abbot behind Eritage of Paul Nicholls’ before finishing third at Haydock behind Francky Du Berlais who went on to subsequently land the Grade 3 Summer Plate at Market Rasen last summer. 

Jeremy Scott’s charge remains well treated on his past exploits as he reverts to chasing off a mark of 130 which is 8lb lower than when he last won in this sphere and has leading claims in search of his third win over the larger obstacles. 

Threeunderthrufive (13:50 Warwick)

It’s pretty hard to get away from the obvious claims of THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE as he looks to follow up in Grade 2 company after a comfortable success at Doncaster last time out when facing just two rivals.

The only blemish on his chasing record so far was when he finished second behind the well-regarded Does He Know of Kim Bailey’s back in October at Chepstow. But since then, Threeunderthrufive has been foot perfect in his recent novice outings, winning impressively at Exeter in November before gaining revenge on the aforementioned Kim Bailey runner at Cheltenham’s November meeting. 

Connections look to have found an ideal opportunity for Threeunderthrufive to record a fourth chasing win from just five starts and he should have little trouble in seeing off his four rivals on Saturday afternoon.

Mister Fisher (14:05 Kempton) 

The Silviniaco Conti Chase is Kempton’s feature contest on their seven-race card and it will be interesting to see how Defi Du Seuil gets on after an underwhelming return to fences when last seen in the 1965 Chase at Ascot. The former Clarence House Chase winner finished 35l behind Lostintranslation when last seen and certainly looks a shadow of his former self at present. 

Despite pulling up in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, that effort can be easily forgiven and MISTER FISHER looks to have sound claims after previously finishing a neck second behind Frodon on penultimate start at Sandown in Grade 2 company. 

Nicky Henderson’s charge was set some tough assignments in the early part of last season including Grade 1 level in the Ryanair Chase at the Festival and the Betway Bowl at Aintree. Saturday’s assignment looks far less testing and this looks like a good chance for him to return to winning ways at what appears to be his optimum conditions. 

Mister Fisher can get back to winning ways in the Grade 2 Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton this weekend.

Mister Fisher can get back to winning ways in the Grade 2 Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton this weekend.

Stag Horn (14:25 Warwick) 

Although not renowned for his runners in this discipline, trainer Archie Watson appears to have a very smart hurdler on his hands in the shape of STAG HORN who got off the mark at the first attempt in this sphere after previously reaching a mark of 108 when last seen on the flat. 

The five-year-old didn’t look the finished article by any means when cosily winning a 2m3f Hereford novice hurdle in December but displayed a sharp turn of foot down the back straight which saw him stride effortlessly clear of the field turning for home before being nudged out for a cosy success. 

Formerly fourth in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer, this former smart stayer won’t lack for stamina and despite being noticeably up in grade on second hurdling start, the five-year-old is taken to continue his winning progress in this discipline. 

Gelino Bello (14:40 Warwick)

Paul Nicholls will be confident of a return to winning ways for GELINO BELLO who has been unlucky to bump into Charles Byrnes’ Blazing Khal in recent outings at Cheltenham in Grade 2 company. 

Prior to those runner-up efforts, Gelino Bello created a favourable impression when landing a Maiden hurdle contest at Aintree last October in the hands-off Harry Cobden after travelling ominously well and quickening away in the manner of a smart novice. 

Paul Nicholls’ charge may have found 3miles too far last time out and a return to a flatter track at 2m5f is sure to suit on Saturday. Connections have now decided to pitch him into handicap company and a mark of 138 certainly doesn’t look insurmountable given the context of his latest Cheltenham performances. 

Eclair Surf (15:00 Warwick) 

Lucinda Russell has previously landed this race with One For Arthur in 2017 who went on to land the Grand National that same season. Her representative this season is Corach Rambler who seeks a hat-trick over fences and is evidently well thought of by connections. However, at bigger prices, ECLAIR SURF makes plenty of appeal for trainer Emma Lavelle. 

The eight-year-old made a smooth transition to fences last season when landing two of his opening four starts over the larger obstacles with strong staying performances over 2m4f and 3miles. Eclair Surf returned to action in November at Bangor when holding every chance when falling three from home behind subsequent Becher Chase winner Snow Leopardess.

His latest third behind Iwilldoit in the Welsh Grand National Trial has been well advertised by that winner going on to comfortably land Chepstow’s feature event over Christmas. Emma Lavelle’s charge is unexposed at Marathon trips and is certainly worth supporting off a lenient looking mark of 133. 

Smarty Wild (15:15 Kempton) 

SMARTY WILD can register a second chase victory for trainer Philip Hobbs as he returns to Kempton for the first time since his last tasting success over the large obstacles.

Philip Hobbs’ charge travelled much the best last time out at Ludlow before finding Didero Vallis and Head To The Stars too strong in the closing stages of that contest. 

That was the eight-year-olds first start over 3miles and he certainly appeared to relish the step up in trip on the occasion. Connections will have also been pleased to see the handicapper drop him a further 1lb despite that promising first start over the distance. Smarty Wild is now only 1lb higher than when winning at this stage last year and there looks to be more to come on just his second start at 3miles. 

Alaphilippe (15:35 Warwick) 

Despite facing race-fit rivals, ALAPHILIPPE looks sure to improve this season for trainer Fergal O’Brien having quickly progressed into a smart novice hurdler last season for these connections. 

Alaphilippe landed Grade 2 honours on his penultimate start when routing the opposition at Haydock over 3miles by 14l. The eight-year-old took the step up into Grade 1 company in his stride and although no match for impressive winner Vanillier in the Albert Bartlett at the Festival, Fergal O’Brien’s charge still ran a race full of promise to finish fifth. 

A 302-day layoff shouldn’t be an issue on Saturday as Alaphilippe has previously won fresh in the past off a similar absence and he can make a winning return to action under jockey Paddy Brennan.