Ziga Boy for repeat win at Doncaster: Racing preview for Saturday, January 30
Doncaster serves up an attractive card on Saturday, highlighted by the Sky Bet Chase, which can fall to Ziga Boy and help the King stable to an across-the-card double.
The seven-year-old grey did his chances no harm when winning over the course and distance a month ago.
There was plenty to like about his seven-length verdict over Godsmejudge.
The handicapper has put him 15lb, but Ziga Boy still gets in this much better race on a low weight and he can take the step up in company in his stride.
Barters Hill tests his Festival credentials in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle on the back of a smooth win in the Grade One Challow Hurdle at Newbury last month.
Ben Pauling’s stable star looks an exciting prospect and has yet to taste defeat in six starts. Doncaster’s galloping circuit should suit him and he can keep his unblemished record intact over this three miles.
Willie Mullins has been the scourge of British trainers with his ever-increasing raids from his County Carlow powerbase and Ireland’s No 1 can plunder a major prize for the third weekend in a row with Djakadam at Cheltenham.
The seven-year-old was runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last season and builds up for another tilt at the blue riband in the BetBright Trial Chase.
Djakadam has already shown his well-being when making a winning reappearance in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown in December, easily brushing aside useful stablemate Valseur Lido.
He will surely prove hard to beat as he looks to cement his position as market leader for the March showpiece.
Thistlecrack is another with serious Festival aspirations after convincing victories in the Long Distance Hurdle and Long Walk.
Colin Tizzard’s likeable eight-year-old stayer has looked the real deal in two outings so far this term and can harden as ante-post favourite for the World Hurdle by taking the galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle.
Tizzard, who has Cue Card to look forward to in the Gold Cup, can also strike with Native River in the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase.
The six-year-old will be much more at home on this course than he was at Kempton, where he failed to justify favouritism in the Grade One Kauto Star Novices’ Chase.
Even so, it was not a bad effort in finishing third behind Tea For Two and he has the class to defy top weight.
Another on the Festival warpath is Alan King’s Who Dares Wins, who seeks to enhance his JCB Triumph Hurdle claims in the official trial for that race.
He has a 100 per cent record over timber after wins at Ludlow and Doncaster, and could hardly have been more impressive at the South Yorkshire track in a race that has thrown up the likes of Peace And Co in the past.
Testing ground holds no fears for Who Dares Wins and while it is unlikely to be quite as demanding as it was that day, the prospect of a deluge at Prestbury Park would not be frowned upon.
Selections - Cheltenham: 12.40 Who Dares Wins, 1.15 Native River, 1.50 Djakadam, 2.25 Tenor Nivernais, 3.00 Shantou Village, 3.35 Thistlecrack, 4.10 Cheltenian.
Doncaster: 1.00 McCabe Creek, 1.30 Dresden, 2.05 Lily Waugh, 2.40 Barters Hill, 3.15 ZIGA BOY (NAP), 3.50 Vaniteux, 4.25 Mcgregor’s Cottage.
Fairyhouse: 12.50 Deadpan, 1.20 Stuccodor, 1.55 Seabass, 2.30 Sunsetstorise, 3.05 Limini, 3.40 Leaders Questions, 4.15 Goaheadmakemyday.
Lingfield: 1.40 Seamster, 2.15 Dakota City, 2.50 Evidence, 3.25 Forceful Appeal, 4.00 Sandacres, 4.30 Blackthorn Stick.
Uttoxeter: 1.45 Will O’The West, 2.20 Tanner Hill, 2.55 Red Hott Robbie, 3.30 Bonnet’s Vino, 4.05 Truckers Highway, 4.35 Chasma.
Double: Ziga Boy and Djakadam.