Channel 4 racing serves up a real treat this weekend with five of the six contests shown live being Graded races and we have free racing tips for all the Channel 4 races today.
The most valuable race of the day is the Stan James International Hurdle where The New One and Zarkandar put their Champion Hurdle Cheltenham Festival credentials on the line. They met off levels at Aintree last Spring with the latter just coming out on top by half a length over 4f extra. That would suggest that there is very little between the pair and identical official ratings of 167 back that up.
The New One is preferred of the two as the younger and slightly less exposed and having easily disposed of former Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby at Kempton on his first start this season he looks to still be progressing. Zarkandar is likely to prove a tough nut to crack having run his heart out behind progressive Irish mare Annie Power at Ascot. Nothing else is within 18lbs of this pair on official ratings and it would be highly unlikely that these two won't fight out the finish.
The big handicap chase on the Cheltenham card at 2.25pm sees three of the first four in November's Paddy Power Chase reoppose in a fascinating contest. John's Spirit won that day showing again that Cheltenham suits him really well. He is another 9lbs higher here but looks a much stronger individual than last season and may well be able to take the raise in the weights in his stride. The runner up that day, Colour Squadron is 2lbs better off for a 3/4 length beating having been badly hampered 2 out. He has finished second in four of his last six starts however and Philip Hobbs' charge may not be one to have maximum faith in. Attaglance was 4th that day and runs off the same weight here but he has something to find with Double Ross who beat him at Perth in May and is now 4lbs better off for beating him a length and three quarters. On his running at Ascot behind Niceonefrankie, Double Ross in turn has a little to find with Cantlow and Easter Meteor who fought out a finish at Newbury last time. The latter was in front in the Paddy Power when taking a tumble 2 out and could easily have played a hand in the finish that day. Cantlow out pointed him at Newbury and could be the one to be on here. He needs to brush up his jumping a little bit which is a slight concern round here but he appears to be progressing still and looks a spot of value.
The coverage begins with a trial for the Albert Bartlett at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival where Kings Palace is likely to be hard to beat. He has looked much improved since stepping up in trip and an 18 length beating of Creepy who won a Grade 2 at the Paddy Power meeting is the best form on offer in this contest. Saint Roque has swiftly come up through the handicap ranks and on official ratings rates the biggest danger but he was disappointing at Sandown last Friday and despite having winning form at Cheltenham the step up in trip may not be in his favour. On the other hand a step up in trip showed Potters Cross in a better light at Ffos Las last time. He had looked smart previously at Chepstow and may prove to be the biggest danger to the David Pipe trained favourite. The Jonjo O'Neill trained Milan Bound looked a very smart novice last time at Uttoxeter when beating the 118 rated Rio Milan far easier than the official 7 length margin, giving the runner up 7lbs. On that he has a little to find with the favourite but is undoubtedly still on the upgrade and is a very interesting contender.
The final offering from Cheltenham is the Relkeel Hurdle at 3.35pm where everything in the field can be given a chance. They are headed by French raider Gemix whose 8 length thrashing of World Hurdle winner Solwhit in June makes him the leading light in this field. The negative with him is that all his best form has been when the track has been hock deep mud, conditions that are going to be very different here and his flat form on good ground is easily his worst to date. Glens Melody is the lowest rated of these despite being a Grade 1 winner. The favourite was below par in that contest and this will demand more. It's interesting though that of his original entries for the race that this is the one Willie Mullins has brought over. More Of That was game pulling victory from the jaws of defeat at Haydock last time, only 6th jumping the last before staying on very strongly on the run in. He looks to be highly progressive but he may prove better still over slightly further and find others with a better turn of foot here. The other with smart handicap form is Salubrious who ran a stormer last time over further. The step back in trip may not be in his favour but on the terms in this race is likely to go very close.
Doncaster also play host to the Channel 4 cameras and begun with a juvenile Grade 2 at 2.05 where the Nicky Henderson trained Royal Irish Hussar is likely to be very hard to beat. He is unbeaten in three starts over hurdles and is currently second favourite in the Ante Post market for the Triumph Hurdle. He won a Grade 2 at Cheltenham on his latest start having previously been victorious at Wetherby and Market Rasen where he beat today's rivel, Fox Norton. Nick Williams charge almost stole the race that day with his previous hurdling experience and a massive 8lbs better off here for a neck bearing would normally make him favourite but the Henderson horse has improved massively since and whilst Fox Norton almost certainly has as well he may not have the scope of the tip. Flat recruit Broughton was rated in the 90's on the level and although he has been pitched in the deep end here on his hurdling debut, if taking to the discipline at the first time of asking could bustle up the favourite in receipt of 7lbs.
The handicap chase at 3.15 is a very competitive looking offering which despite the small field has more than half of them separated by just a few points in the betting. Top weight De Boiteon won on his debut for Sue Smith over a mile shorter and although he has won over 3 miles in the past he has shown his best form over lesser trips. Baile Anrai and Harry The Viking are both well handicapped on old form and are well worthy of respect but recent form for both is patchy to say the least. Carrigmorna King was unlucky to bump into a revitalised Tatenen at Newbury a week ago. This race looks easier but a 4lb higher mark for that 8 length defeat means he will have to step up again on that effort. The vote goes to the Nicky Henderson trained Bear's Affair who is still lightly raced and won off this mark over hurdles last December. He was thought enough of to only go off 12/1 against World Hurdle winner Solwhit in April when Barry Geraghty pulled him up after marking a stopping blunder. He would need to give the bigger obstacles more respect here but having shown his well being at Kempton recently he is taken to score here.
Channel 4 Racing Betting Tips
1.50 Cheltenham – Kings Palace
2.05 Doncaster – Royal Irish Hussar
2.25 Cheltenham – Cantlow
3.00 Cheltenham – The New One
3.15 Doncaster – Bear's Affair
3.35 Cheltenham – Salubrious
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