Check out Saturday’s ITV Racing Tips here.
There’s a bumper weekend of ITV Racing as action takes place on Saturday and Sunday on terrestrial television, and while some punters will have one eye on their 2023 Cheltenham tips, there’s some quality jumping action to focus on this Saturday from Musselburgh, Sandown and Leopardstown. Our in-house tipster Steve Chambers looks at Saturday’s racing and picks out his best bets..
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Ben Pauling’s Slipway was a runaway winner of the Southern National at Fontwell, but will have to defy a 10lbs rise in the handicap when lining up off top weight in the Edinburgh National at Musselburgh on Saturday afternoon at 14:03. A hugely competitive betting heat on paper the likes of Flower Of Scotland and Truckers Lodge have shown they have stamina in abundance and deserve to be towards the head of the betting.
However, it’s Olly Murphy’s THE WOLF that is the way to go as he was a fine second in this race 12 months ago and he can go one better today. Beaten by Captain Cattistock in this event 12 months ago, that pair are set to lock horns again, but The Wolf is significantly better off at the weights in the 2023 renewal. Captain Cattistock is 10lbs higher in the handicap than last year’s event, so he has a tough ask to replicate his victory, but The Wolf is only a solitary 1lb higher, so if he can bounce back from an average run at Cheltenham last time out then he can land the prize here.
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Both Jonjo O’Neill’s Flight Deck and David Pipe’s Remastered tasted victory last time out and that pair are well fancied to claim victory in the Heroes Handicap Hurdle at Sandown Park at 14:55 on Saturday afternoon. The latter of that pair was a winner over fences, so it shall be interesting to see how he fares back over hurdles and of the pair it’s Remastered that makes most appeal.
But, the one further down the betting at around 12/1 that is the selection is PARTY BUSINESS, who hasn’t been seen on the track this campaign, but was last seen running a decent race in a competitive Haydock handicap hurdle back in May. Prior to that the Ian Williams-trained star had landed a valuable prize at Aintree having finished fifth in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham, so he has some very strong form in this sort of event, so has to be an each-way player. He is 12lbs higher than that Aintree win, so will need to be at his best, but he’s a classy performer on his day and is the one to side with here.
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Current Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Galopin Des Champs is a red-hot favourite for the Irish Gold Cup and the Willie Mullins-trained superstar will be very tough to beat if he can put in a clear round of jumping. But, at the prohibitive odds the John Durkan Memorial winner is worth taking on with stablemate STATTLER, who can enhance his Cheltenham claims with a shock win here.
A dour stayer, Stattler showed his class when landing the National Hunt Chase with aplomb at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival and he made a promising return at Tramore on New Year’s Day when just being denied in the New Year’s Day Chase by Minella Indo. He’s certainly one that will want a fierce gallop from the outset as stamina is his star quality, but if Galopin Des Champs shows any frailties over his fences then Stattler can stay on best of the rest to land Grade 1 glory here for the Mullins operation.
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Tim Vaughan’s EVA’S OSKAR has been in fabulous form this season as having finished a gallant runner-up at Cheltenham two starts ago, the classy nine-year-old grey then returned to Prestbury Park a few weeks later and stormed to victory in a hugely competitive handicap chase. A winner off a mark of 140 back in December, Eva’s Oskar will look to defy a 3lbs rise in the Virgin Bet Masters Handicap Chase at Sandown Park.
A real top notch jumper, Vaughan’s raider will relish the jumping test that is Sandown and he should excel at a track he’s never run at before. He will face some notable rivals here with the likes of Rapper and Bangers And Cash sure to put up a challenge, but the galloping grey can continue a fine start to the season and make it back-to-back wins.
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