A super Saturday at Cheltenham is complimented by two high-class contests on the all-weather at Lingfield and Nick Luck has trawled through the formbooks to give a selection in ever ITV race.


ZARKAREVA is a very tempting proposition at 17/2 in a smart looking Novice Chase (1:40). The stable won this last year with the subsequent Arkle heroine Put The Kettle On, and while this filly may never scale those heights, she is decidedly useful and – as a four year old – gets allowances for age and gender. She gets nearly a stone from Fusil Raffles, is improving rapidly and was able to produce a turn of foot off a strong enough pace at Punchestown last time.

SKY PIRATE is a sporting each way pick at 16/1 in the big race (2.15). Admittedly, there are higher profile horses with more obvious chances here, but I think Sky Pirate might have finally found his ideal race: put simply, he is a very strong traveller who wants a frenetic race to fall apart around him. With an abundance of pace in this race, he might just get that set up. Rain is fine for him, he shaped like an improved horse on his seasonal debut after wind surgery, and I like Jonny Burke as a jockey booking on a lightly weighted horse that needs a patient ride. Jonjo O’Neill knows how to prepare one for this, and the run should have put him spot on.

DANDY DAN (2:50) is a very genuine horse and, if this turns into a genuine test of stamina, can take advantage of a smart piece of placing. Kim Bailey continues to saddle loads of winners and this horse is very nicely handicapped back over hurdles, having confirmed his well-being with a good comeback second in the Durham National at Sedgefield. There are flashier horses in here, but Dandy Dan will give you a run for your money at 11/2.

WHATSUPWITHYOU is not without risk but is nonetheless a possibility in the Intermediate Handicap Hurdle (3:25) at 10/1. He is 6 pounds better for 3 lengths with the favourite Captain Tom Cat from their meeting here at the Showcase meeting, but he was a little too far out of his ground that day and got going all too late. What is more, it was his first run of the season, the yard is starting to get going a bit, and any further rain will be an advantage judged on how well he coped with deep ground at Ascot last year.

COLOURS OF MY LIFE is going to be a big price here at 18/1, but I like her and so does her trainer, who knows what he’s doing in these good mares’ bumpers (3:55). To my eye, she shaped like just about the best in a well above average bumper at Newbury on her debut last season, but was a bit raw and unfurnished and just found it all a bit much late on. She has reportedly done really well over the summer, comes from an excellent jumping family and would not need to move forward that much to at least get a bit of the place money here.


PALAVECINO is not the easiest in the world but is still on the up on an artificial surface, and might be able to improve past Dubai Warrior in Lingfield’s Churchill Stakes (3:05). I think he’ll appreciate a return to 10 furlongs here, but expect him to set a stern pace, and I suspect he might end up with a an uncontested lead in a small field, a set-up which suits nicely.

SUNDAY STAR has never run on Polytrack before, but I am hoping she can continue the progress that she has made this year in the Golden Rose Stakes (3:40). She is admirably consistent, probably found the surface as slow as she wanted at Newmarket last time and receives a nice chunk of weight from the obvious dangers here. There are some clues in her pedigree that this surface is worth a try.

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