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Saturday racing preview: Plenty of pointers for Cheltenham and Aintree

by Sean Goff | February 16, 2013
DUDE LOOKS LIKE A WINNER: Monbeg Dude could pull off a shock in the Welsh National

ONE COOL DUDE: Welsh Grand National winner needs to show more respect for the Haydock fences

By Sean Goff | Horse Racing

Plenty of top-class action from Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton today and punters have latched onto Rocky Creek at Ascot (2.05) for the Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh team.

Winner of his last two Novices Chases at Wetherby and Doncaster he holds entries in the four-mile amateur  and RSA Chase at Cheltenham. The form of his Wetherby win was franked when Nicky Henderson’s Molotof came out and beat Drumshambo last weekend.

Paddy’s new Racing Informer has made a few headlines but the winner of Ascot’s fascinating Ascot Chase (3.50) – where King George runner-up Captain Chris, Haldon Gold Cup Chase winner Cue Card and Champion Chase victor Finian’s Rainbow line up over 2m 5f – will be all over the news later today.

Expect a shake up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Ryanair Chase and Champions Chase markets after this contest as all three are not running over their ideal trip.

David Pipe’s Red Sherlock created a big impression when hosing up on his Towcester debut and is 12/1 for the Cheltenham Champion Bumper on March 13th. Expect that price to contract if he puts in a similar display here against the Nicky Henderson’s Captain Cutter ridden by iron man AP McCoy.

Nicholls relies on Zarkandar in the Kingwell Hurdle (2.05) at Wetherby who’s odds on to cement his place in the Champion Hurdle on March 12. Daryll Jacob’s takes the mount as Walsh will ride Hurricane Fly for Willie Mullins regardless.

Zarkandar is two wins from two this season seeing off Grandouet and reigning champion hurdler Rock On Ruby as Cheltenham in the International Hurdle in December and is 6/1 for the opening day feature at the Festival.

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It’s all about the Aintree Grand National on April 6 at Haydock this afternoon with the Grand National Trial (2.55).  Monbeg Dude and TeaforThree lock horns again after finishing first and second in the Welsh Grand National in a race where Paddy Power will give you your money back if your selection finished second to the winner. (T&C’s apply)

Paul Carberry gave Monbeg Dude one of the rides of the season to win at Chepstow in early January but his mount will need to show the stiff Haydock fences far more respect if he’s to pull off another Houdini act and deny Nick Schofield’s mount as AP McCoy is at Ascot.

The Racing Post’s Pricewise has tipped up Gary Moore’s Well Refreshed who’s the 5/1 favourite with Paddy Power while Venetia William’s Rigadin de Beauchene looks to be improving after a 3m 5f win at Warwick last time out.

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