Another great Saturday’s racing with the last action of 2021 at Cheltenham, while there’s a good card at Doncaster too.

Here are Nick Luck’s fancies for the ITV races.


MIDNIGHT SHADOW looks serious value at 15/2 to follow up last month’s win in the Racing Post Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday (1.50pm). Although his margin there was ultimately a narrow one, he had been on or near the sharp end throughout, and impressed with his jumping and his attitude. His connections feel he is a borderline Grade One horse, which would still make him well treated, and we might just be scratching the surface. The stiffer test of the New Course (over which he has an excellent record) should suit very well and he is overpriced to join the select band of horses to have won both races. Lalor and Silver Hallmark look the biggest dangers.

BLAZING KHAL can also follow up last month’s win in the Albert Bartlett hurdle (2.25pm) at 5/4. Although five pounds worse off with promising runner up Gellino Bello, he finished off that race so strongly, it seems inconceivable that he won’t be as well suited as anything by a stronger pace and a stiffer test, not to mention slightly easier ground given his pronounced knee action. Barony Legends, who hardly came off the bridle in a weak race at Lingfield, might be his more potent threat.

WILDE ABOUT OSCAR (10/1) is a slightly wild pick in the International Hurdle (3.00pm), but this is not a sparkling renewal and, with due respect to the wonderful Sceau Royal (who doesn’t quite get home on this track) and the admirable Song For Someone, it is ripe for a surprise. The selection has been running over further, but shaping as though a well run, stiff two miles or thereabouts would suit really well. He ran very creditably even though he finished last at Aintree and he really only has a few pounds to find with the principals here.

TRAPISTA is unoriginal in the last (3.35pm) at 3/1, but there are enough positives in the form of her Huntingdon win to suggest the handicapper might not have her in his grasp. The well thrashed second was running a good race at Lingfield when falling, while the fourth has won a fair race since. You couldn’t fail to be impressed with her and her pedigree suggests she should relish this slightly sterner test of stamina.


SONIGINO can win the first of three TV races at Doncaster (2.05pm) at 7/2. He was in quite deep at Haydock last time, but never stopped trying behind a very smart prospect in Barrichello. He is getting a mountain of weight from Tommy’s Oscar, who continues to amaze, but might not be quite so dominant back in distance.

KNIGHT SALUTE can follow up his Cheltenham success with a win in Doncaster’s Grade 2 Summit hurdle (2.40pm) at 5/1. It is easy to forget just how promising a start he made on the Flat before the wheels fell off, and I am far from convinced he’s just an early season prospect. It is surely significant that Paddy Brennan is at Donny to ride him when he could easily have been elsewhere, and he remains a pretty good price.

KAUTO RIKO can take the Donny finale (3.15pm) at 7/1. Sparingly campaigned the last two seasons, he nonetheless ran a stormer in last season’s Paddy Power, confirming his ability when fresh. He also looked primed for a step back up to three miles that day, a chance he finally gets to take. The booking of Brian Hughes (5/8 on this horse) is clearly a massive plus.