Luckily the weather has relented a little and we have plenty of horse racing to enjoy on Saturday. I have four bets at three different courses that I hope will pay for a scotch or two to warm the cockles later.
Flying Tiger and Amour de Nuit have had their sights lowered a little going for the Bet365 Handicap Hurdle at Doncaster due off at 1.40 and both have a chance. One though that looks to be improving is Irish Roe. Relatively lightly raced for a six-year-old the mare has done little wrong thus far and is three from four starts over the sticks progressing which each of those runs. I think she could prove as good as the two mentioned in time and as she gets 12lb and 9lb respectively from them here she is fancied at 4-1.
Still up at Doncaster at 2.45 they have the Grade Two bet365 Summit Juvenile Hurdle. Act Of Valour was no slouch on the Turf for Qatar Racing whilst with Michael O'Callaghan out in Ireland, rated 97, now with Nicholls he won at the first time of asking over the sticks at Newcastle showing a willing attitude and he is fancied to make it two from two here at 6-4. We Have A Dream from the Henderson yard is feared.
At 3.05 we have the Grade Two Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham in which Melon, My Tent Or Yours and The New One feature amongst a strong line-up of seven contenders setting up a battle of the generations. My Tent Or Yours hasn’t actually won since 2014 but has put in some heroic efforts in 2016 and this year since his return from injury including coming 2nd in two Champion Hurdles. The ten-year-old goes well fresh so this being his first appearance since April is of no concern and I think this could be his day back in the limelight. As an added bonus he gets a handy 6lb from his two main rivals and I am on at 5-1. Nicky Henderson said earlier this week "The ground is going to worry us considerably. It is not ideal, but he has become more versatile the older he has got. The plan was to keep My Tent Or Yours and Buveur D'Air apart and we set up a plan and this is the way we are going with him. He is in very good form. He was out in the snow on Tuesday morning and his gallop at Newbury the other day was excellent. Much like The New One, he has not lost that will." Three times winner of this race The New One has to be considered but looked to my eyes to lack a bit of speed in the G.3 Greatwood last month and may be better suited to further these days as he was campaigned last back end; My Tent Or Yours has had the better of him in their last two meetings since this race last year anyway off levels. Melon is obviously a danger and open too any amount of improvement as a 5yo but is rated 7lb inferior to the selection and has to give him that 6lb mention above to boot.
Last but not least we are at Newcastle on the tapeta for the sunbets.co.uk Handicap at 4.05. Pastime trained by Gay Kelleway was putting together a decent run of results through the summer and autumn before running a stinker at Chelmsford City on the polytrack last time. Gushed along from a wide draw early he was ridden much more prominently that day and faded badly turning for home. The geldings record on tapeta is two from two, one over track and trip, and I am prepared to forgive that run at Chelmsford. The one draw isn’t great but not a disaster either. At 6-1 I am on.