Saturday horse racing tips 4 January – Dalgleish’s Prince can become King at Newcastle
Brian Healy looks ahead to Saturday 4 January horse racing action across the UK and Ireland and gives his best bets and race-by-race selections.
Six meetings go to post across the UK and Ireland on Saturday, with the Tolworth Hurdle meeting at Sandown being the day’s feature fixture.
In addition to racing at the Esher venue, there is further jumps racing from Wincanton and Newcastle, as well as from Cork in Ireland; while on the all-weather there is also afternoon all-weather action on the polytrack at Lingfield.
Completing the Saturday line-up is an evening all-weather fixture from Kempton’s polytrack surface.
Lingfield (flat, aw) – 11.40 – 3.25pm (8 races)
Newcastle (jumps) – 11.50 – 3.10pm (7 races)
Sandown (jumps) – 12.15 – 3.35pm (7 races)
Cork (jumps) – 12.20 – 3.40pm (7 races)
Wincanton (jumps) – 12.30 – 3.50pm (7 races)
Kempton (flat, aw) – 4.10 – 7.40pm (8 races)
Brian Healy gives his selections and best bets for every race going to post throughout Saturday.
BRIAN HEALY’S NAP OF THE DAY – SATURDAY 4 JANUARY
(12.10) UNIVERSAL GLEAM (11/4, Ladbrokes) bounced back to form when successful at this venue back in November, and Keith Dalgleish’s charge can follow up here.
The Sir Percy gelding scored a shade readily that day, crossing the line just over one length to the good, and a subsequent 4lbs rise in the weights doesn’t look unduly harsh given the manner of that success where despite things not going entirely to plan he ultimately finished well on top.
He ought to give another good account as a result, and having won with a bit in hand latest should could continue to improve and every chance he can land back-to-back wins.
(1.15) MADE IN ITALY (11/4, Coral) looked in need of the experience when finishing fourth at Lingfield last month, but Marco Botti’s charge caught the eye finishing off well and the Mukhadram filly ought to progress with that outing under her belt.
She finished just over three lengths’ fourth behind Rhubarb Bikini in that outing, running on late, and if building on that encouraging debut effort then it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see her posting an improved effort here.
11.40 – Lee Roy
12.10 – Universal Gleam
12.40 – Cable Speed
1.15 – Made In Italy
1.45 – Haddaf
2.15 – Something Lucky
2.50 – Getchagetchagetcha
3.25 – Finespun
(12.25) PINCH OF GINGER (3/1, Paddy Power) was awarded the race in the Catterick stewards’ room last week, but Donald McCain’s charge could be worth siding with to win on merit this time around, and the Golden Lariat gelding should go well again.
He has returned in good fettle following a break, finishing runner-up in starts at Market Rasen and Bangor prior to her fortuitous success latest where she was give the verdict over Paddling having been impeded on the run-in by that rival.
He is only 3lbs higher in the weights here so there remains the potential for better still, and every chance he can go close if staging a repeat of that effort.
(12.55) PRINCE KAYF (10/11, Unibet) was a point-to-point winner prior to joining this yard, and Keith Dalgleish’s charge offered plenty to work on when finding only Toshima too strong at Sedgefield on his hurdles debut back in August.
The Kayf Tara gelding showed the benefit of that effort and experience to score next time out in heavy ground, beating subsequent Cheltenham Listed winner Imperial Alcazar at Newcastle, and likely to have further improvement to come he can follow up here.
This contest looks a match on paper between him and Olly Murphy’s Overthetop, but Keith Dalgleish’ charge gets a narrow vote to come out on top with his main rival needing to bounce back from a lesser effort last time in the Grade Two Winter Novices’ Hurdle having perhaps failed to handle the testing ground.
11.50 – Alpha Carinae
12.25 – Pinch Of Ginger
12.55 – Prince Kayf
1.30 – Capard King
2.00 – Adjutant
2.35 – Albert’s Back
3.10 – Gennady
(2.25) FIDDLERONTHEROOF (9/4, Ladbrokes) could be the one to side with in what might turn into a bit of a slog, and the Stowaway gelding’s proven stamina being a point-to-point exponent could prove to be a big advantage here.
Colin Tizzard sent out Elixir De Nutz to win this prize twelve months ago, and his representative this time around has shown progressive form over hurdles in his three runs to date, getting off the mark at the third attempt when successful over course and distance in December when beating Arrivederci by an easy seven lengths.
A soft-ground bumper winner, he found only subsequent Grade One winner Thyme Hill too strong in the Persian War Hurdle at Chepstow on his reapperance, and the sharper nature of Wincanton perhaps didn’t play to his strengths next time.
That race has since thrown up a trio of subsequent winners, and he was an impressive winner latest where he hinted at better still to come as he ploughed through the mud to score easily. He looks well worth a crack at this higher level, and with the potential for better still he could follow up that last-time success.
(3.00) DARK FLAME (15/2, William Hill) crossed the line in second in the voided London National where Houblon Des Obeaux – who this race is named after – sadly lost his life; and Richard Rowe’s charge could be the one to side with here.
The Gold Well gelding is relatively low-mileage over fences, winning here back in November 2016, and he was making his reappearance from more than two years off the track when crossing the line in second behind Houblon Des Obeaux in a similar contest over course and distance back in November.
He showed no ill effects of that effort following his lengthy layoff in the London National, and he could go one better here now fitted with cheekpieces and turned out 1lb lower in the weights which clearly leaves him well handicapped given he was placed off 135 in his earlier chase career prior to his long layoff.
He ought to go well then, and the ‘winner’ of the London National struck at Cheltenham on New Years’ Day so every chance he can post a big effort here.
12.15 – Palladium
12.45 – Silver Forever
1.20 – Dashing Perk
1.50 – Locker Room Talk
2.25 – Fiddlerontheroof
3.00 – Dark Flame
3.35 – Smarty Wild
(12.50) BELFAST BANTER (SP) showed some ability in a couple of bumper runs during a short stint with Dan Skelton, winning at Newton Abbot, and the Jeremy gelding ran well on his hurdles debut for new handler Peter Fahey when finding only Captain Guinness too good at Navan in December.
He was beaten seven lengths, but wasn’t aided by being slightly hampered at the last hurdle, although he crossed the line with daylight back to the third.
That was his first run in more than five months, and he ought to come on for the effort; while the application of a hood for the first time might also elicit some improvement, and he can go one better here.
(1.55) MOROSINI (11/4, William Hill) has proven to be consistent over hurdles, winning at Ballinrobe in May and filling the frame in three of his next four starts which includes finding only Top Moon too strong when last seen out at this venue in November.
Jessica Harrington’s Martaline gelding was beaten around four lengths, unable to sustain his effort; but that form looks solid with the winner bumping into the smart Alfa Mix next time, while the third scored on his next outing.
He is only 3lbs higher in the weights here, and every chance he can make his presence felt again with another solid performance.
12.20 – Fauguernon
12.50 – Belfast Banter
1.25 – Deal With It
1.55 – Morosini
2.30 – Shakeytry
3.05 – Mount Hanover
3.40 – The Sliding Rock
(1.05) GLENO’s (6/1, Bet365) latest run at Fontwell was a big step back in the right direction, and if Gary Moore’s charge can build on that effort then he could get back on the scoresheet.
The Ask gelding won four times over hurdles last term, including here last February, but hadn’t been seen at his best in three starts over fences until stepped up markedly in trip for his last outing where he found only Christmas In April too strong by just over one length.
He turns out here from the same mark, and he could be worth siding with in the hope he can step up for that encouraging effort, and he is unexposed as a staying chaser so may well have more to offer.
(3.15) A case can be made for all five runners in this race, but with proven ability to handle testing ground it could be worth siding with GALA BALL (4/1, Ladbrokes) to get back to winning ways, and the Flemensfirth gelding ought to strip a lot fitter for his recent reappearance behind Oldgrangewood at Newbury when last seen.
Philip Hobbs’ charge won three times in soft ground over hurdles earlier in his career, and he made the frame in all five starts over fences during the 2016/17 season which included a Exeter success. Although he was absent after finishing runner-up to Warriors Tale back in March of that season, he returned from a lengthy absence of almost two years to find only San Benedeto too strong in the 2019 Greatwood Gold Cup last March after which he beat the reopposing Valdez at Newbury.
He shaped as if amiss on his reappearance, but he could be worth forgiving that effort and he’s been eased slightly in the weights. Assuming he turns out here back to something like his best, then it wouldn’t come as a big shock to see him posting a much improved effort in conditions that will present no problem to him.
12.30 – Sadma
1.05 – Gleno
1.35 – Galileo Silver
2.05 – Saintemilion
2.40 – Maypole Class
3.15 – Gala Ball
3.50 – Arrivederci
(5.10) Unlike most of her rivals MAQBOOLA (11/4, William Hill) arrives here in good heart and the Tamayuz filly could take some beating here if in the same form as when winning at Lingfield last week.
Richard Hughes’ charge had shown steadily progressive form prior to that win, improving with each start and finding only one too good at Wolverhampton earlier in December prior to beating Mont Kiara by one length when last seen.
She has only been raised 5lbs in the rating, but the return to one mile will present no issue and she could prove a tough nut to crack if posting a similar effort here.
(6.10) STANFORD (SP) ran well on his debut at this venue back in September, finishing third behind Acquitted, and the Zoffany colt stepped up on that performance to find only First View too strong next time at this venue over one mile.
Andrew Balding’s charge was only beaten one length on that occasion, and she’s subsequently been given a break following that run. The race has thrown up three subsequent winners, including the race-winner going in again next time, and the drop to seven furlongs could prove to be a good move.
Likely to have further progress, he could get off the mark here with the potential for better still to come, and every chance he can open his account at the third attempt.
4.10 – Sound Mixer
4.40 – Today Power
5.10 – Maqboola
5.40 – Notforalongtime
6.10 – Stanford
6.40 – Rainbow Dreamer
7.10 – Be Fair
7.40 – Picture Poet