Horse racing tips: Templegate’s NAP will love the mud and has had a nice nudge down the weights

TEMPLEGATE tackles Saturday’s racing confident of building the bank for the fast-approaching Cheltenham Festival

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GRANDEUR D’AME (1.55 Newbury, nap)

He can bounce back from unseating at the first fence in a hot contest at Cheltenham in late January. Before that, Alan King’s chaser ran a cracker when fourth in the December Gold Cup there and he’s had a nice little nudge down the weights since then. He loved the mud when scoring on comeback at Wetherby in November so conditions should be ideal.

JANGO BAIE (2.17 Kelso, nb)

He was slightly lucky to win the Grade 1 Formby Hurdle at Aintree on Boxing Day after his big rival fell two out. But he was in contention before that tumble so it wasn’t a total fluke. He was slightly disappointing when only second at Huntingdon last time but the muddling pace may have been against him there. There are few front-runners in this field so there will be a good gallop which should be ideal.

SOME SCOPE (3.40 Doncaster, treble)

He has been living up to his name with an impressive seven-length win over three miles here last time out. He was eased right down so the margin could have been a lot further and his jumping was excellent. The handicapper has bumped him up the weights but trainer Richard Hobson has a really progressive chaser on his hands.

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Templegate’s TV verdicts

NEWBURY

1.20

HIGHLAND HUNTER will love these muddy conditions after his staying-on fourth in the Grand National Trial at Haydock last time.

This should turn into a real slog, which is ideal for him, and the handicapper has been fair in dropping him 1lb which brings him below his last winning mark.

Commodore has been off a year but he’s best when fresh and is best on heavy. Seeing out this trip won’t be a problem and he’s right down the weights.

Musical Slave can make errors but he’s won similar contests to this before and has lots of staying power.

Copperhead has been knocking on the door and was third again in a fair contest at Sandown last time. He acts on heavy and Freddie Gingell’s 5lb claim could make the difference in such a tight race.

Omar Maretti got his act together to win easily at Catterick last time but is likely to find this tougher.

The booking of Harry Cobden takes the eye on Fortescue who found the Masters Chase too much at Warwick latest. This should be more up his street.

Last year’s winner Cyclop has struggled since so, even off 5lb lower, is hard to fancy.

1.55

GRANDEUR D’AME can bounce back from unseating at the first fence in a hot contest at Cheltenham in late January.

Before that, Alan King’s chaser ran a cracker when fourth in the December Gold Cup there and he’s had a nice little nudge down the weights since then.

He loved the mud when scoring on comeback at Wetherby in November so conditions should be ideal.

The ground is the only slight negative for Kandoo Kid who didn’t give his true running in the Great Yorkshire Chase last time.

He earlier went close in an Ascot Grade 2 and landed a decent pot over course and distance in December.

He hasn’t tackled ground this soft before but would have a big chance if handling it.

Highstakesplayer clocked a personal best when scoring at Kempton 22 days ago and a 3lb rise gives him every chance.

Bill Baxter has shown his best over this sort of trip like when winning the Topham at Aintree last season.

That’s likely to be his main target again but he is handicapped to go close.

Gemirande hasn’t run since his third in good company at Cheltenham in April. He likes this trip and is worth a look in the betting on comeback.

Heltenham went close at Kempton last Saturday and is back quickly from the same mark.

KELSO

1.42

ILANZ is a regular winner who battled right to the line when winning at Wincanton last time.

He was returning from a year off the track so is likely to step forward and he gets on well with his 3lb claiming jockey.

This is tougher but he has very little weight in the saddle.

Itso Fury needed his comeback run before stepping up to score strongly at Wincanton latest.

He tanked along there and had the race sewn up a long way from home.

He looks progressive so a 5lb rise in the weights looks fair and some cut in the ground poses no problems.

Pentland Hills got his act together back over hurdles when second at Donny before Christmas.

He is best on this decent ground and should see out this slightly longer distance. His best form would take him into the frame.

Rafferty’s Return had plenty in hand when slogging through the mud to score at Carlisle 12 days ago. More rain would bring him right into this.

Brewin’upastorm is down in class but has plenty of weight to give away.

Serious Operator looks a bigger contender after his fifth in the Lanzarote at Kempton last time.

2.17

JANGO BAIE was slightly lucky to win the Grade 1 Formby Hurdle at Aintree on Boxing Day after his big rival fell two out.

But he was in contention before that tumble so it wasn’t a total fluke.

He was slightly disappointing when only second at Huntingdon last time but the muddling pace may have been against him there.

There are few front-runners in this field so there will be a good gallop which should be ideal.

Brucio took a minor contest at Catterick before stepping up to win a Listed contest at Leopardstown last time out.

That was over this trip with some cut in the ground and there’s more to come.

Cannock Park was 15 lengths behind the tip at Aintree but that was just his second run over timber so he should be capable of a lot better.

He handled Cheltenham’s hill when winning on debut there so should enjoy Kelso.

Personal Ambition went from the front to score easily at Doncaster and is another who can take a step forward.

Alnilam has all-important course form when scoring by 13 lengths here last time and is another to consider.

2.50

BINGOO made it three wins on the spin in bottomless ground at Aintree on Boxing Day.

He managed to travel sweetly despite the conditions and had plenty in hand crossing the line.

He struck twice at Hexham before that so this undulating track shouldn’t be a problem.

That last run came after eight months off so he should improve for it.

Under Control is sent north by Nicky Henderson after a good second in a Doncaster Grade 2 35 days ago.

She is 10lb higher than her big handicap win at Sandown in April but looks a danger.

Last year’s winner Benson comes here after two good runs at Musselburgh and has an each-way shout from 5lb higher in the handicap.

He goes on any ground so more rain wouldn’t be a worry. Skycutter won without breaking sweat at Carlisle last month.

This is tougher but he could have more to offer for Dan Skelton.

Black Hawk Eagle has done well since joining Kerry Lee from Noel Meade and is looking for a hat-trick. This is tougher but he is only six so could find more.

3.25

MINELLA DRAMA is quirky but he has enjoyed running around Kelso before and his best form would take him close.

He was last seen over hurdles and stepping up in distance can bring out his best.

Monbeg Genius is the obvious danger after his solid third in the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury last time.

This is his prep race for the Grand National but he’ll be close to full fitness and we know he has plenty of staying power for this trip.

Aye Right has three wins and a host of Kelso places on his CV and was a good second in the veterans’ final at Warwick last time.

He stays well and goes on any ground so should be right there.

Thunder Rock was a Listed winner at Carlisle before Christmas and improved on that when second at Musselburgh last month. He is interesting on this step up in distance.

Elvis Mail didn’t fire at Cheltenham last time but has won his past two races here. He’d like an even bigger test of stamina but should be on the premises.

DONCASTER

2.35

HOMME PUBLIC has been in fine form this season, kicking off with a Wetherby win before taking Grade 2 honours at Cheltenham in November.

He didn’t enjoy himself going right-handed at Ascot at Christmas when jumping out to the left at most fences. He’ll be much happier here and can show his true colours.

Tommy’s Oscar is only 2lb higher than his last win and just tired late on over 2m4f at Musselburgh last time.

The drop in distance here will help and he can figure.

Nube Negra is back at handicap level after finding the Grade 1 Clarence House too much at Cheltenham. This is his best trip and the first-time cheekpieces could help.

Malystic was a solid third here last time over this distance. He is best on decent ground and could run into the frame from the same mark as his last victory.

Riders Onthe Storm has had a wind operation since his poor effort at Aintree latest and that will need to perk him up against these rivals.

3.10

LUNAR DISCOVERY has been in fine form with two wins at Hexham followed by seconds in better company at Haydock and Carlisle last time out.

She has already gone close in this Listed company and shapes as though this step up in distance could bring improvement after just four hurdles runs.

Gaye Legacy won a big-field handicap at Newbury last time and has not finished out of the first three all season.

She is a proven stayer but more rain would help as heavy ground brings out her best.

Ottizzini didn’t have to hit top gear when scoring at Musselburgh and has plenty of staying power. She goes on any ground and looks a danger.

Dontyawantme has improved with each of her three spins over timber and battled well up the hill at Carlisle latest.

She’s another going up in trip but that should be right up her street.

Lightening Mahler looked a nice prospect when scoring on debut at Hereford but flopped at Warwick last time. He’s had a wind op since that could help.

Mellificent is another who has more to come after winning on debut at Carlisle. She’s been off since October but could nick a place.

3.40

SOME SCOPE has been living up to his name with an impressive seven-length win over three miles here last time out.

He was eased right down so the margin could have been a lot further and his jumping was excellent.

The handicapper has bumped him up the weights but trainer Richard Hobson has a really progressive chaser on his hands.

There was lots to like about Java Point when winning at Sandown last month.

He travelled really strongly and had something left at the line so this longer trip should be fine.

He’ll want the ground to stay decent and won’t be far away if it does.

Certainly Red chased him home in that race and is 4lb better off the weights this time. There won’t be a lot between them again.

Erne River won here at Christmas and was far from disgraced in the Great Yorkshire Chase last time.

This extra quarter-mile may stretch his stamina but he’s not out of it.

Does He Know found a Newbury Grade 2 beyond him last time but has dropped to 3lb below his last mark which brings him into this. The first-time cheekpieces may have an effect too.

Templegate’s tips

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