Horse racing betting tips for the live Channel 4 races today, racing tips from Cheltenham races and Doncaster races this afternoon.
Eyes will be on Cheltenham this weekend as World Hurdle champion Big Buck's makes his long-awaited return in the Cleeve hurdle. Now 11 years old he will have to show he has retained all his ability if he is to justify his position at the head of the World Hurdle market for the Cheltenham Festival as well as the esteem in which he is held by fans of the sport.
Connections are adamant the ability remains and on all form he is very hard to oppose despite the advancing years and the long absence. Reve De Sivola looks likely to be the one to give him the most to do today. A comfortable win the last time at Ascot in the Long Walk Hurdle when running the field into the ground from the front, the continued rainfall is very much in his favour. He has a bit to find with Big Buck's on plenty of old form but can use his fitness edge as his most potent weapon over that rival here. At Fishers Cross has been a massive disappointment this season jumping very poorly both times first at Newbury and then at Ascot. If those problems are behind him he would be a big price here however he can't be trusted on this seasons form and a watching brief is advised. Boston Bob won nicely on his comeback over hurdles last time and the step up to 3 miles surely will suit him better than the trip at Punchestown. He has always been held in very high regard by connections but will need to run a new personal best to trouble the principles on this occasion.
The coverage and our racing tips for Channel 4 begins at 1:50 with another in the line of grade 3 handicaps over 2m5f where Double Ross will be looking to extend his winning sequence to three. An eight pound lift in the weights for his latest triumph looks fair enough given his authority at the finish and with everything in his favour again will be hard to beat. He is still unexposed enough over fences to find further improvement so the only slight concern is that he has been on the go since September but hopefully is capable of taking another hard race on his back. Cedre Bleu looks set to run his usual solid race but can't be backed for win purposes, finding, as he does so little under pressure including last time behind Double Ross here. Wishfull Thinking has been a model of consistency for a long time now and this is the lowest mark he has run off in a handicap chase. He is getting a bit long in the tooth now and may still find this a little beyond his capabilities these days. Our Mick was behind Wishfull Thinking at Aintree last time and could find the step down in trip and the change of headgear might be in his favour. He is a winner of three of his four chase starts over this kind of trip and five pounds lower than when runner up at the 2013 Festival he could have a big say in proceedings. Shangani gave a better showing to suggest he may be coming back to form while Sew On Target can run well again despite being a couple of pounds out if the weights.
The Argento Chase is a good opportunity for those currently just a little short of Gold Cup class to stake their claim for a shot at the big prize. Harry Topper dug deep to win the Charlie Hall at Wetherby but followed it up with a poor round of jumping at Sandown when he was well beaten. The ground may have been a bit too quick that day and back with more cut is worth giving another chance, especially considering the trainer rates him as the best he has trained since the Gold Cup winner, Master Oats. He has cheekpieces here to help him concentrate a little more on the task in hand and they could be the making of him. Another in first time headgear is The Giant Bolster who if back to his Gold Cup placed best would have a massive chance. He has been a long way below his best this season but in receipt of weight from the rest of the field he is interesting. Hennessy form is represented here with Rocky Creek who ran a corker when runner up in that race on his seasonal reappearance. The return to softer ground will be no inconvenience to him and he is a worthy favourite. There isn't much between him and Houblon Des Obeaux on Ascot form from last season but Venetia Williams charge seems to save his best form for the Berkshire venue although he has won here off a much lower hurdles mark.
The novices hurdle at 3.00 looks very competitive and should hold clues aplenty for a raft of Festival contests. Willie Mullins is represented by Rathvinden who comes here looking for a confidence boost having ended up on the deck most recently. He was sent off favourite against the ultra smart Deputy Dan at Warwick and was still travelling strongly when coming to grief three out. He won both other starts this season comfortably and although the form hasn't really worked out in either race it's hard to gauge just how good he might be. Creepy and Aubusson are both C&D winners with the latter of the two looking the stronger contender here with Creepy not looking suited to soft ground. Nick Williams Aubusson has struck up an excellent partnership with Lizzie Kelly and the race they won last time had some good yardsticks in behind. A more fashionable trainer/jockey partnership would see this horse shorter in the betting and he may represent a spot of value. Madness Light is interesting stepped up in grade having won very comfortably at both Lingfield (form has worked out nicely) and at Uttoxeter. Very soft ground is fine for him and only being five is capable of finding more improvement. Red Sherlock has done everything asked of him so far in an unbeaten five race career. With the exception of The Skyfarmer he hadn't beaten much of note yet so will have to improve now upped in grade. His jumping will also need to be far slicker than his most recent effort at Wetherby if he is to win here.
The Channel 4 cameras are also at Doncaster on Saturday where coverage begins with a mares hurdle where Annie Power is impossible to oppose. Unbeaten in nine career starts she seems flexible as regards trip and it is a huge coup to the track to attract her. Main danger will come from Cockney Sparrow who is improving at a rapid rate. She won a shade cosily on her reappearance at Wetherby before running a massive race when runner up in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle. Doyly Carte and Alasi are both very good mares in their own right but they do have a lot to find with the principal pair both on form and official ratings.
The River Don hurdle at 2.40 is a classy looking novices affair with Timesremembered looking to get back to winning ways and land our next horse racing betting tips. He may have found the ground a little on the quick side when a battling runner up to Creepy at Cheltenham before finding one too good again in the Grade 1 Challow at Newbury. He is unproven over the trip under rules but was a three mile winner in a point and the step up in trip is likely to suit him. Aerial was very smart over fences but he has a bit to prove here. It was a very weak contest he won as an odds on favourite back over the smaller obstacles last time but if capable of running close to his chase mark he is overpriced. Sausalito Sunrise is two for two over this trip including in a handicap last time. This demands considerably more of him than that Haydock triumph but is still very lightly raced and as such is likely to be capable of that kind of improvement. Urban Hymn also had a Haydock success to his credit winning by a wide margin last time. A basic reading of that form when beating a 125 rated rival 20 lengths would see him as the one to beat here but it is hard to believe that the runner up in that contest ran anywhere near his best. Racing Pulse may have lost his unbeaten record at Cheltenham last time but he lost nothing in defeat in a good quality contest. The step up in trip and return to better ground are likely to suit well and he is probably going to prove the biggest threat to the selection here.
The Skybet Chase (or Great Yorkshire to us purists) is always a massively competitive handicap chase, this year headed by the Paul Nicholls trained Unioniste. He is going to find this an awful lot easier than the Lexus Chase that he contested over Christmas but he was far from disgraced that day finishing just eleven lengths behind Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth. A repeat of that would certainly suggest a mark of 153 is well within his reach although the suspicion is that he could do with a drop more rain to be at his very best. Kruzhlinin has been much improved this season winning a pair of contests at Kelso. This will demand more of him but the way he travelled last time before quickly putting the race to bed would suggest he may not be done winning just yet. Time For Rupert was rated more than a stone better than this mark in his pomp and ran well to a point in his return before fading. He is worth watching in the market to see if a better effort is expected. Night In Milan won over C&D last time and is considerably better over the bigger obstacles. That six length triumph plus the fact that both third and fourth have won since make an eight pound rise workable and he has to be respected. Gullinbursti was sent off a short price favourite to beat E/W Hennessy fancy Hadrian's Approach at Newbury last time but found the small field and consequential lack of pace against him. This is likely to suit better and having run well in a very competitive hurdle at Haydock off a similar mark doesn't look too badly handicapped. A tentative vote for our final Channel 4 racing betting tips however goes to Native Gallery. Ben De Haan's grey ran well enough when tipped at Kempton last time, sitting too far out of his ground before plugging on for third. A further drop in the weights and return to better ground will suit him well with the addition of a tonguestrap an extra interest. He has won off five pounds higher over hurdles and may still have a little more to offer on just his third start over fences.
Channel Four Racing Tips
1.50 Cheltenham – Double Ross
2.05 Doncaster – Annie Power
2.25 Cheltenham – Harry Topper
2.40 Doncaster – Timesremembered
3.00 Cheltenham – Rathvinden
3.15 Doncaster – Native Gallery
3.35 Cheltenham – Big Buck's
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