Six UK and Irish horse racing meetings will go to post throughout Saturday, which features the Grade One Tingle Creek Chase on the card at Sandown, where racing at the Esher track also includes the Grade One Henry VIII Novices’ Chase.
There is also racing from Aintree where the Grade Two Many Clouds Chase and Grade Three Becher Chase over the Grand National fences are both on the agenda at the Merseyside track.
There is also jumps racing from Wetherby and Chepstow on Saturday, with the Welsh Grand National Trial spearheading the action at the Welsh track; while in Ireland there is a fixture over the sticks at Navan where there is Grade Three action on the card with the Klairon Davis Chase.
Completing an action-packed Saturday is an evening all-weather fixture at Wolverhampton on their tapeta surface.
Aintree (jumps) – 11.30 – 3.15pm (8 races)
Navan (jumps) – 12.00 – 3.20pm (7 races)
Wetherby (jumps) – 12.05 – 3.25pm (7 races)
Sandown (jumps) – 12.15 – 3.35pm (7 races)
Chepstow (jumps) – 12.20 – 3.40pm (7 races)
Wolverhampton (flat, aw) – 5.00 – 8.30pm (8 races)
BRIAN HEALY’S NAP OF THE DAY FOR SATURDAY 7 DECEMBER
(2.05) MIDNIGHTS GIFT (11/4, Bet365) 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.
(3.15) ULTRAGOLD (13/2, William Hill) has been out of sorts in recent runs, including when pulled up on his reappearance behind Vinndication in the recent Sodexo Gold Cup back in November. However, Colin Tizzard’s charge boasts a good record around these fences, and a return to this sort of test could see the Kapgarde gelding bounce back.
He has contested over these obstacles five times in all, winning successive Topham Chases in 2017 and 2018, while he has also finished runner-up in the 2017 renewal of this race as well as the 2018 Becher Chase.
The veteran also contested in and completed the course in last season’s Grand National, finishing down the field although he was later found to be lame. That run had come on the back of finishing fifth in the Classic Chase at Warwick before a disappointing run in the Cross-country Chase during the Cheltenham Festival.
There is every likelihood that he needed his reappearance at Ascot last month, and he should strip a lot fitter for that return where he pulled up just after the third last although he was tailed off at the time. But, a return to this venue with a start under his belt could be the catalyst for a return to form, and with his record here hard to crib then he can post a big run.
11.30 – Harry Senior
12.00 – Casablanca Mix
12.30 – Rebel Royal
1.00 – One Night In Milan
1.30 – Alpha Des Obeaux
2.05 – Midnight’s Gift
2.40 – Might Bite
3.15 – Ultragold
(12.35) COLUMN OF FIRE (7/1, Bet365) won a bumper at this venue last November, and Gordon Elliott’s charge has made the frame in two of his three starts over hurdles since.
The Robin Des Champs gelding most recently finished third on his reappearance following eight months off the track at Naas last month, beaten around 15 lengths behind Elixir D’Ainay; but he should strip fitter for that return to action, and he can do better this time around.
Momentum on that occasion was halted by a mistake at the third last, but he had shaped well until that point and could be worth siding with in a competitive contest to open his hurdling win account back at the scene of his sole success to date.
(2.10) TORNADO FLYER (5/4, Bet365) finished third in the 2018 Champion Bumper, after which Willie Mullins’ charge beat stablemate Blackbow to win the Punchestown equivalent.
The Flemensfirth gelding made a winning transition to hurdling last term, scoring at Punchestown, and he stepped up on his subsequent disappointing effort at Naas in the Lawlor’s Of Naas to finish fourth in the Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown behind Reserve Tank.
A winner again on his seasonal return at Naas last month, posting a narrow defeat of Choungaya and Voix Des Tiep – who could boost the form earlier in the card – he did well to overcome a bad mid-race blunder to score the victory, and that experience won’t have been lost on him.
He could find improvement for that experience, and while this drop in trip might not prove ideal he could prove the one to beat if showing improvement for that first run back.
12.05 – Festival D’ex
12.35 – Column Of Fire
1.05 – Coko Beach
1.35 – Voix Des Tiep
2.10 – Tornado Flyer
2.45 – Ex Patriot
3.20 – Wide Receiver
(12.40) MANOFTHEMOMENT (3/1, Unibet) has had just one start over fences and could be the way to go in a race full of largely disappointing sorts who find winning difficult, and the Jeremy gelding can get off the mark at the second attempt.
Tom George’s charge won twice towards the end of last season over hurdles, scoring at Exeter and Southwell, and he was just creeping into contention when unseating his rider at Worcester in May prior to a six-month hiatus.
Possibly in need of the run when finishing sixth behind Simply The Betts at Chepstow in November, that form has been franked by winner as well as the third and fifth horses home all winning next time out, and likely to strip fitter for his own reappearance then he could prove a different proposition now with a run under his belt.
He goes up in trip for this latest run where he is 2lbs lower in the weights, while his good amateur rider can take off 7lbs which is a positive, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see a big run on just his second start over fences.
(1.40) AIN’T MY FAULT (11/4, Coral) was worn down late in the day by the reopposing Ubaltique at Kelso last month, but Lucinda Russell’s charge may be able to turn the tables here.
The Beneficial gelding has finished runner-up on all three of his chase starts, while he has yet to register a win over hurdles or fences thus far in his short career. However, he was a winner in the point-to-point sphere for Colin Motherway prior to joining this yard, and he has shown enough over fences to suggest he’s up to winning races.
He was possibly just made too much use of last time out, making most of the running at a decent pace only to be ground down late on by Donald McCain’s rival; but on these revised terms he could be worth chancing to gain revenge this time around given he remains unexposed over the larger obstacles.
12.10 – LE Cheval Noir
12.40 – Manofthemoment
1.10 – Blue Hussar
1.40 – Ain’t My Fault
2.15 – Clemento
2.50 – Dino Boy
3.25 – Teasing Georgia
(2.25) 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.
(3.35) 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.
12.15 – Fiddlerontheroof
12.50 – Crossgalesfamegame
1.20 – Lord Of The Island
1.50 – Nube Negra
2.25 – Smarty Wild
3.00 – Sceau Royal
3.35 – Step Back
(12.55) JEPECK (9/4, Ladbrokes) failed to score during his time with Robert and Kayley Woollacott, but since joining Anthony Honeyball the Westerner gelding has found improvement, getting off the mark when successful in a Ffos Las chase back in November, and he has returned this term over hurdles in good heart to score at Bangor in November before finding only one too good next time at Southwell.
That latest run came just two days on and might just have come too soon as he was beaten eleven lengths, although he was well clear in turn of the only other horse to finish.he could be worth chancing to get back on the scoresheet
Given more of a break between runs, he could be worth chancing from the same mark to resume winning ways in this contest and he can post a big run under Rex Dingle whose 3lbs claim could prove valuable.
(2.30) DOMINATEUR (6/1, Bet365) had yet to be asked for his effort when falling at Carlisle on his chase debut, but Oliver Sherwood’s charge could be worth chancing to put that mishap behind him and get off the mark at the second attempt over the larger obstacles.
The Desir D’un Soir gelding had shown progressive form over hurdles previously, making the frame in three starts before registering back-to-back wins at both Lingfield and Carlisle, latterly beating Chambard, and he had travelled and jumped well in the main before his departure latest at the fifth last fence.
That was also his seasonal debut, and he’ll surely come on for the effort so may well find improvement on the back of that first run to do better here.
12.20 – Eclair De Guye
12.55 – Jepeck
1.25 – Juge Et Parti
1.55 – Golden Sunrise
2.30 – Dominateur
3.05 – Equus Dancer
3.40 – A Large One Please
(5.20) BORN TO REASON (9/2, William Hill) bounced back to form with a win over course and distance last month, and Alex Dunn’s charge could be worth sticking with to go in again.
The Born To Sea gelding had been out of sorts in a couple of his previous starts, but he appeared suited by the stronger pace latest when beating Klipperty Klopp by three lengths, and while he is 7lbs higher back in a handicap he may be able to build on that return to winning ways with a follow up effort.
His wide draw isn’t ideal, but this doesn’t look a particularly strong race and he should continue to remain competitive despite his rise in the weights, while he has won off this rating in the past so he could go close in this contest.
(6.20) AUCHTERARDER (9/2, Ladbrokes) was impressive when getting back on the winning trail over course and distance last month, and Mark Johnston’s charge can continue on her upward curve to strike again.
The Gleneagles filly had won on debut at Beverley back in May prior to a six-month absence; but she returned with a solid runner-up effort on the Southwell fibresand behind The Bell Conductor although perhaps wasn’t ideally suited by that surface.
However, faced with the faster tapeta surface she found a jolt of improvement to run out an easy four lengths’ winner over Rocking Reg, and she could repeat the dose over this extra furlong which promises to suit.
This is a tougher test of her credentials, but she looked useful when bolting up last time, and further progress should keep her competitive so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her going close to another success.
4.50 – Gavi Di Gavi
5.20 – Born To Reason
5.50 – Royal Vote
6.20 – Auchterarder
6.50 – Awsaaf
7.20 – Paths Of Glory
7.50 – Straightouttacompton
8.20 – Silverbook
BRIAN HEALY’S BEST BETS FOR SATURDAY 7 DECEMBER
12.35 Navan – COLUMN OF FIRE (7/1, Bet365)
12.40 Wetherby – MANOFTHEMOMENT (3/1, Unibet)
12.55 Chepstow – JEPECK (9/4, Ladbrokes)
1.40 Wetherby – AIN’T MY FAULT (11/4, Coral)
2.05 Aintree – MIDNIGHTS GIFT (11/4, Bet365)
2.10 Navan – TORNADO FLYER (5/4, Bet365)
2.25 Sandown – SMARTY WILD (6/1, Ladbrokes)
2.30 Chepstow – DOMINATEUR (6/1, Bet365)
3.15 Aintree – ULTRAGOLD (13/2, William Hill)
3.35 Sandown – STEP BACK (6/1, Paddy Power)
5.20 Wolverhampton – BORN TO REASON (9/2, William Hill)
6.20 Wolverhampton – AUCHTERARDER (9/2, Ladbrokes)