As the nights draw in and the temperature drops we are only two weeks away from the first Cheltenham meeting of the season, and Nigel has more runners this weekend as the season begins to ramp up and the flat season falls away.
Nigel’s Charity Bet
As always, we’ve given Nigel a £50 charity bet to place on a horse of his choice – and this week it will be on……
Ballykan 4.45pm Chepstow Saturday (£25 Each Way at 16/1).
“I will be the first to admit that this is a cracker of a contest and it will clearly take some winning but I have Ballykan in excellent form at home and am very hopeful of a big run. He hasn’t been seen on course since pulling up at Perth but that has seen him dropped to a rating of 137 – the same as his last victory at Southwell. He is a big price but I think he is better than that and I expect a decent run and he looks in such good heart at home.”
If Ballykan wins or places we’ll donate the winnings to the Injured Jockeys Fund!
Other Saturday runners:
Tintern Theatre 3.05pm Chepstow 4.35pm
“This will be his first run over fences but I have to admit he looks up against it in this small but select field and is the outsider of the four and perhaps rightly so. On hurdling form he is really up against it but he has schooled well at home and I do think he can go on to be even better over fences. That said, I am a realist and will be happy with a good run here regardless.”
Arthur McBride 3.40pm Newmarket
“This has always been the plan for Arthur McBride and I blame myself for his below-par effort last time out when I may have left him a gallop short thinking his trial win would leave him straight enough. He will most certainly run a lot better than that now but this is a fiercely competitive handicap as it is every year, and if he could sneak into a place I will be absolutely delighted.”
Wholestone 4.10pm Chepstow
“Ballyoptic won this for us last year at odds of 9/2 and I am rather hoping we can double up here with Wholestone who was one of last season’s top staying novices with wins five wins from his nine career starts, and a good third to Penhill at the Cheltenham Festival in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle over three miles. He has won over two and a half miles so I am not bothered by the trip and I am pretty hopeful his handicap mark of 145 underestimates him a little, so expect a huge race for this very valuable contest.”
Double Ross 3.25pm Chepstow
“Another hot race at the weekend but my lad won it last season when beating Loose Chips by three-quarters of a length at odds of 3/1 under Ryan Hatch. My son Sam takes over in the saddle this afternoon and he only has to carry a pound more this today on official ratings, though he does have five pounds more to carry in this particular field. He is in very good form at home and looks set to do well in these Veteran Races this season (I do like to target the “OAP” races when I can), and won’t be far away this afternoon with a repeat win very much on the cards.”
Nigel Twiston-Davies will be back each and every week with his thoughts exclusively for myracing.com as well as every day over the major meetings! To see what our tipsters are backing in all the weekend’s races, check out our free daily horse racing tips!