Busy Saturday in store at Chepstow and further afield
SATURDAY’S Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown is going to be a top-class affair, with the reigning two-mile champion chaser Altior making his seasonal reappearance and some stiff opposition lining up against him in a small but select field. Watch your bets; Un De Sceaux, the Willie Mullins-trained winner of 22 of his 29 races is a regular at this level, has won this race before and is equally adept at that distance and two and a half miles. Sceau Royal is a secondseason Alan King chaser who is 5-6 over fences. Saint Calvados is only a five-year-old yet his record over the bigger obstacles is already 4-5.
Earlier that afternoon, the highly promising Lalor has his second outing over fences for the Woollacott stable in the Henry VIII Novices Chase. The Becher Chase, over the last three-and-a-quarter miles of the Grand National course, is the highlight at Aintree on Saturday. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Aintree-loving Blaklion is the favourite. It’s rash to dismiss any of the stable’s runners over these fences and their Ballyoptic, beaten a nose in the Scottish National, is next in the betting. Even though the obstacles aren’t as formidable as they used to be, some horses continue to excel there. Other course winners running are Ultragold, Vieux Lion Rouge and Highland Lodge. Newcomers to the track include the former Gold Cup third Don Poli, dual Badger Ales winner Present Man and the Kim Muir winner Missed Approach.
A feast of racing at these two courses can be enjoyed on the TVs at Chepstow, who have their own seven-race card tomorrow beginning at 12.20.
Buveur D’Air impressed winning the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle last weekend and appears destined for a third Champion Hurdle provided he keeps sound. Sizing Tennessee, who is nearly 11 years old, was winner of a sub-standard Ladbroke Trophy at Newbury. Many of the main contenders disappointed.
At The Races is going to be renamed Sky Sports Racing on January 1. The channel will lose its right to show Irish racing, but at least this means more coverage of the 24 British courses. They include Bath, Chepstow and all the other Arc tracks. Every meeting will have a Sky reporter present.
Next summer seems a long way off, but annual membership at Bath racecourse in 2019 costs only £210 before the end of this month. As well as their 22 fixtures, members get free admission at racing staged by the other 15 Arc courses.