ITV Racing tips Saturday 7 December – Live TV tips for Aintree and Sandown

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Brian Healy gives his ITV Racing tips for Saturday 7 December featuring top-class action from Sandown and Aintree, including the Tingle Creek Chase.

The ITV Racing cameras are back in action on Saturday with a cracking line-up of eight races covering the pick of the action from Aintree and Sandown, where the Grade One Tingle Creek Chase takes centre stage of the afternoon.

The top-class contest boasts a mouth-watering line-up which could yet yield a Champion Chase contender, and the supporting action at the Esher track includes further Grade One action with the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase, as well as Listed and handicap action.

Meanwhile, at Aintree there is the Grade Two Many Clouds Chase, while we also pay two visits to the Grand National Fences with both the Becher Chase and the Grand Sefton Chase on the agenda.

Saturday’s ITV Racing schedule 7 December

1:30 Aintree – Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (6yo+) 3m2f
1:50 Sandown – Read Road To Cheltenham At racingtv.com Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7½f
2:05 Aintree – Download The App At Virgin Bet Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 (3yo) 2m1f
2:25 Sandown – Jumeirah Hotels And Resorts December Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 (4yo+ 0-150) 2m
2:40 Aintree – Virgin Bet Price Boosts Many Clouds Chase (Grade 2) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m1f
3:00 Sandown – Betfair Tingle Creek Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7½f
3:15 Aintree – Virgin Bet Grand Sefton Handicap Chase Cl2 (6yo+) 2m5f
3:35 Sandown – Betfair London National Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-150) 3m5f

Ed Chamberlain and the team will be on hand again to cover all the day’s action, and there will be their usual expert tips, insights and post-race analysis; and Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections for all eight TV contests taking place.

1:30 Aintree – Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (6yo+) 3m2f

Previous experience of these fences can be a big advantage in races over this set of unique and fearsome obstacles, and although he failed to complete the course on his only previous try over these fences it could be worth chancing ALPHA DES OBEAUX (16/1, Coral) to get back on the winning trail.

Gordon Elliott’s smart chaser doesn’t win often, and his last victory came when beating Valseur Lido in a Listed contest at Thurles last November; but he has run well in defeat since, runner-up in the Theystes Chase in January before filling the same spot behind Rathvinden in the Bobbyjo Chase.

Only narrowly denied by Jett on his reapperance at Punchestown in the Irish Daily Star Chase, he ran respectably again when finishing third in the recent Ladbrokes Championm Chase behind Road To Respect at Down Royal, and if able to run up to that level back in handicap company then he can post a big effort.

He does have a lot of weight to carry, and only Ballyoptic has a similar burden at the weights, so he does have a stiff task to collect this prize. However, he is arguably the class horse in the race on the pick of his form in Ireland and he can get competitive with champion jockey Richard Johnson in the saddle.

1:30 Aintree – Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase

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ALPHA DES OBEAUX 16 /1
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Gordon Elliott can enjoy more Aintree success over the Grand National fences with Alpha Des Obeaux in the Becher Chase.

1:50 Sandown – Read Road To Cheltenham At racingtv.com Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7½f

NUBE NEGRA (11/4, Unibet) was a useful sort over hurdles, but the Dink gelding has taken his form up a notch faced with fences where he is 2-2 over the larger obstacles, and Dan Skelton’s charge can continue his progression to make it a hat-trick of wins.

Third in the 2018 Fred Winter Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, his last hurdles start at the end of last term saw him finish sixth in the Scottish Champion Hurdle, and he was an impressive scorer over Ballymoy when tackling fences for the first time at Warwick.

That experience stood him in good stead and he took another forward step when routing Encore Champs and others in a Fakenham contest in October, jumping well and eased down near the line having readily gone clear.

The form of that success perhaps isn’t the strongest, but he could do no more than beat what was in front of him, and the progressive five-year old could improve further. While this is a stiffer test, he could prove equal to the task at hand, and he can post another big run as he bids for his three-timer.

1:50 Sandown – Read Road To Cheltenham At racingtv.com Henry VIII Novices’ Chase

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NUBE NEGRA 11 /4
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2:05 Aintree – Download The App At Virgin Bet Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 (3yo) 2m1f

MIDNIGHTS GIFT (5/2, William Hill) was a useful performer on the flat, scoring at Lingfield back in September when beating High Commissioner, and Alan King’s charge made a winning transition to hurdles when beating Break The Rules at Fakenham on his debut over timber in October.

The Midnight Legend filly showed a good attitude to grind out that success having clouted the last flight and losing some momentum; but she had caught the eye with the way she had travelled into the race, and likely to find improvement for that first experience she could do better still.

While the form of that debut effort is perhaps nothing special, his shrewd trainer knows how to place his juveniles to good effect, and she can cope with the higher grade to make it 2-2 over hurdles.

2:05 Aintree – Download The App At Virgin Bet Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle

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MIDNIGHTS GIFT 5 /2
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2:25 Sandown – Jumeirah Hotels And Resorts December Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 (4yo+ 0-150) 2m

SMARTY WILD (6/1, Ladbrokes) was progressive over hurdles last term, winning his last three starts which included a five lengths’ defeat of the useful Putting Green at Taunton in March.

Philip Hobbs’ charge probably needed his return to action when beating only one home behind Duke Street on his reappearance at Cheltenham in October, never really travelling or jumping with any fluency in what was a disappointing effort by the Fair Mix gelding.

Perhaps unsuited by the track on that occasion, he stepped up markedly on that reappearance when going back right-handed to beat Manvers House at Exeter, and there could be more to come from him now stepping up in grade where he could still be fairly treated despite a 4lbs rise in the weights.

This is obviously tougher, but he looks on a good mark and may well have further improvement to come so there looks every chance that he can remain competitive despite the higher grade.

2:25 Sandown – Jumeirah Hotels And Resorts December Handicap Hurdle

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SMARTY WILD 6 /1
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2:40 Aintree – Virgin Bet Price Boosts Many Clouds Chase (Grade 2) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m1f

Native River looks the likeliest winner, and the former Gold Cup winner could prove a tough nut to crack on his return. However, the weather forecast isn’t favourable for Colin Tizzard’s charge, and there is a chance that the underfoot conditions may just go against the King’s Theatre gelding.

MIGHT BITE (9/4, Unibet) has a question to answer having had a miserable campaign last term, but Nicky Henderson’s classy Scorpion gelding is more likely to appreciate the conditions and he could be worth chancing as an alternative to the Gold Cup winner.

A hugely progressive novice, winning four of his six starts which included back-to-back Grade Ones – one of which came over course and distance – he continued his climb to the top with further wins at Sandown and Kempton in the 2017 King George VI Chase before being outstayed in the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup by his old rival having looked the likeliest winner turning in.

He got back to winning ways here in April, beating Bristol De Mai to win the Aintree Bowl; but last season was a washout and he failed to get competitive in any of his three starts, including a failure to complete the course when pulled up in the Gold Cup.

Not seen out since, he’s had a second wind surgery and will sport cheekpieces ahead of his reappearance. He has a good record fresh, and he acts on the quicker ground while a 2-2 record over course and distance is another tick in the positive column for the Seven Barrows inmate who despite having a question to answer now is chanced to bounce back to form at the expense of his old foe, and the small field scenario here could suit him.

2:40 Aintree – Virgin Bet Price Boosts Many Clouds Chase

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MIGHT BITE 9 /4
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Might Bite could be worth chancing to bounce back to form after a dismal campaign last term.

3:00 Sandown – Betfair Tingle Creek Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7½f

A cracking line-up of eight runners going to post for this Grade One contest, and SCEAU ROYAL (13/2, William Hill) could get his season off to a winning start having performed with plenty of credit in defeat last term.

Alan King’s Doctor Dino gelding was a progressive novice, winning the Henry VIII Chase on this card twelve months ago having already won two of his three prior starts over fences, and he collected further wins at Doncaster in the Grade Two Lightning Novices’ Chase as well on his return to action following a break when beating Simply Ned in the Shloer Chase last November.

Although he met with defeat in all four subsequent starts, three of them came behind Altior, including when chasing home Nicky Henderson’s dual-Champion Chase winner in the Celebration Chase over this course and distance on his final start having finished third in the Champion Chase in March where Altior collected his second crown.

A winner over fences on both good and soft ground, he has an excellent record fresh and is the pick of Daryl Jacob for this assignment. He likely has more to offer as a chaser too this term, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him firmly in the mix in this contest where he’ll likely get a decent pace to aim at.

2019 Tingle Creek Chase – 3.00 Sandown, Saturday 7 December

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SCEAU ROYAL 13 /2
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3:15 Aintree – Virgin Bet Grand Sefton Handicap Chase Cl2 (6yo+) 2m5f

ULTRAGOLD (13/2, William Hill) has an excellent record over these obstacles, and while Colin Tizzard’s charge has been out of sorts of late, the veteran Kapgarde gelding could be rejuvenated by a return to this venue.

The eleven-year old has completed the course in all five starts here, winning back-to-back Topham Chase crowns in 2017 and 2018, and making the frame in both the 2017 renewal of this race behind Gas Line Boy, and the 2018 Becher Chase on this card behind Walk In The Mill.

Stamina was an issue when tried in the Grand National proper, but he successfully navigated the course having pulled up in the Cross Country previously, and he should strip fitter for his recent return in the Sodexo Gold Cup where he went well for a long way before fading and was pulled up in that race.

Conditions should be no issue, and he is only 1lb higher than when successful in this race in 2018; while he’s not getting any younger, his record over these obstacles has to make him of interest, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see an improved effort back at this track.

3.15 Aintree – Virgin Bet Grand Sefton Handicap Chase

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ULTRAGOLD 13 /2
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Ultragold’s record over the Grand National fences could see him get back on the scoresheet.

3:35 Sandown – Betfair London National Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-150) 3m5f

STEP BACK (6/1, Paddy Power) has run well fresh in the past, and Mark Bradstock’s trailblazer could be worth chancing on his reappearance to get back on the scoresheet.

The 2018 Bet365 Gold Cup winner hasn’t matched that level of form in four subsequent starts including when pulled up in the Aintree Grand National, although he went off far too hard on that occasion and was a spent force jumping Becher’s Brook on the second circuit.

He showed no ill-effects from that effort however when finishing third in defence of his Bet365 Gold Cup crown, and he’s had wind surgery since that outing which could help him to find some improvement on his return to action.

Twice a winner on his seasonal reappearance, he has been eased 1lb in the weights ahead of this start, and the bold-jumping front-runner could be worth siding with to make another winning seasonal debut reunited with Jamie Moore who is 2-3 when partnering the Indian River gelding.

3:35 Sandown – Betfair London National Handicap Chase

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STEP BACK 6 /1
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ITV RACING TIPS SATURDAY 7 DECEMBER – AINTREE & SANDOWN

1:30 Aintree – ALPHA DES OBEAUX (16/1, Coral)
1:50 Sandown – NUBE NEGRA (11/4, Unibet)
2:05 Aintree – MIDNIGHTS GIFT (5/2, William Hill)
2:25 Sandown – SMARTY WILD (6/1, Ladbrokes)
2:40 Aintree – MIGHT BITE (9/4, Unibet)
3:00 Sandown – SCEAU ROYAL (13/2, William Hill)
3:15 Aintree – ULTRAGOLD (13/2, William Hill)
3:35 Sandown – STEP BACK (6/1, Paddy Power)