Attheraces.com tipster Declan Rix has six horses to follow at Cheltenham and Lingfield on Saturday…..
FORCA TIMAO – 2.01 LINGFIELD
Forca Timao will need some luck and/or a good ride from David Egan to win this handicap drawn in stall nine, but he is well handicapped on the best of this year’s turf form and showed he can handle an all-weather surface on his only start on synthetics.
That came last time out at Chelmsford in a warm-looking Class Two Handicap where he wasn’t best placed in a tactical race. Having looked outpaced before they turned for home, Richard Hannon’s inmate made eyecatching late gains to run fourth.
The son of Kessaar steps back up to 10f, a trip he has showed all his best form over, and that’s a positive. If handling the turns of Lingfield and stepping forward from his first run off a break, he can outrun his double-figure odds.
NOTLONGTILLMAY – 2.20 CHELTENHAM
Based on what Notlingtillmay did in last season’s Grade One Turners Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival – second to the enterprisingly-ridden Stage Star (now 3lb worse off) – a well-run, soft-ground two-and-a-half miles is what brings out the best in this lightly-raced seven-year-old.
The son of Malinas has only had nine career starts, four of those over fences, and in terms of profile, as a second-season chaser, he fits ideally for this type of race. A lack of experience is a small concern as this will be the biggest field he has run in, but Notlongtillmay is a superb jumper when on song, and tends to travel strongly.
The last horse to win the Paddy Power without a run that season was Annacotty in 2015 so the fact Notlongtillmay made a lovely comeback 21 days ago at Cheltenham’s October meeting – form which was boosted on Friday – is another positive against some of the market leaders who are making their seasonal debuts.
REGAL REALITY – 2.36 LINGFIELD
A competitive seven-runner Listed contest that can hopefully go to the old boy Regal Reality who had a good, solid 2023 turf campaign, holding his form well in a quartet of runs and posting his best effort of the season last time out, 50 days ago, against the classy Mutasaabeq in the Group Two Joel Stakes.
While he must carry a penalty, which makes life tougher, he still looks the horse to beat on recent form against a field where plenty have question marks re current form and/or fitness levels.
His draw in stall seven is not ideal, but he’s a hold-up horse, unexposed on the all-weather and the twisting turns and up and down of Lingfield will hopefully keep him interested before he flashes home late.
BUDDY ONE – 2.55 CHELTENHAM
New French recruit to the David Pipe yard, Placenet is worth watching in the market, but the in-form and hard-fit Buddy One looks to hold strong claims on the back of a ready handicap success at Galway three weeks ago.
The six-year-old ran two crackers at two of Britain’s biggest festivals last season, firstly finishing third in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham before running second in a big handicap at Aintree. The Irish raider has improved subsequently, impressing at Galway last time out.
On what we have seen so far, the son of Sans Frontieres looks an uncomplicated, sound-jumping and progressive horse, so with his 7lb-claiming jockey easing his burden, Buddy One is a big player in a race that has numerous chasers reverting to hurdles, some of them having their first starts of the season.
PINK CRYSTAL – 3.11 LINGFIELD
At general odds of 11/8, I am more than happy to take on strong current race favourite Mischief Magic. Should the three-year-old come back to the level of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint victory, he wins, but his recent levels have been a long way below that quality Keeneland effort.
While I’m not saying he can’t score, he does make the market for a bet, and Pink Crystal gets the nod. Her draw in stall nine could have been kinder so a bit of good fortune and/or a quality Richard Kingscote ride will be needed to win.
In terms of form, she is easily classy enough to win for the in-form William Haggas team and is very much at home on an artificial surface. The sweet-moving daughter of Shamardal has had a solid and progressive 2023, which I hope can peak here.
GYENYAME – 3.30 CHELTENHAM
Springwell Bay has the potential to make a mockery of this handicap off a mark of 137, but he is a pretty keen-going sort, and runs over 2m 5f for the first time. Should Cheltenham get a lot of rain (double digits forecast) and he’s fresh on his first run back, it would be no surprise to see him outstayed late.
Similar comments apply to Resplendent Grey who also has his first try over this distance. He isn’t as keen as the favourite, but does sport a hood and didn’t exactly shape like he was crying out for further last time out at Chepstow.
The Joe Tizzard-trained Gyenyame comes here on the back of a sound run at Wincanton 20 days ago where he was doing all his best work late on under Brendan Powell. This is a stronger race, no doubt, but the fact he is in-form, fit and settles well could well be key against a pair of horses who may not stay this trip as well as him.
Watch all the action from Lingfield, Uttoxeter and Wolverhampton live on Sky Sports Racing on Saturday.