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Inspections called at all three Saturday jump meetings

| 31.01.2014

The prospects for National Hunt racing in Britain on Saturday look bleak with forecasters predicting up to 15mm of rain across the country. Sandown has already cancelled all hurdle races on the card and will stage an all-chase card if it survives a 7.45am inspection.

The abandonment of the hurdle races means that British racegoers are denied the opportunity to see the highly-regarded Un De Sceaux in action. Willie Mullins had intended running him against Melodic Rendezvous in the Contenders Hurdle.

The three replacement races include a £25,000 veterans’ chase with racing scheduled from 1.15 to 4.10. If the meeting does go ahead, Oscar Whisky will put his Cheltenham credentials to the test in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase.

Ffos Las are also bracing themselves for more rain and will inspect at 7.30am. The going is already heavy for a card that includes the Welsh Champion Hurdle and the West Wales National.

Paul Nicholls has declared the progressive Saphir Du Rheu for the Welsh Champion Hurdle where he is set to concede 11lbs to Nicky Henderson’s Whisper. Harry Derham is again booked for the ride having ridden the horse to victory in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton last time.

Welsh National winner Mountainous will bid to add the West Wales National to his CV as trainer Richard Lee plots a course to Aintree. The weights are headed by Junior with Jonjo O’Neill represented by Smoking Aces.

Wetherby looks the best prospect for jump racing on Saturday with the going currently soft, heavy in places. Course officials are optimistic that the meeting can survive but have called an 8.00am inspection.

The feature race at the Yorkshire track is the Grade 2 Novices’ Chase at 3.20 with Tony McCoy booked to partner Shutthefrontdoor. He disappointed at Cheltenham last time and faces useful opponents in Ely Brown and Green Flag.

The All-weather tracks at Lingfield and Wolverhampton are guaranteed to provide punters with some racing action on Saturday. Rebellious Guest is a strong fancy for the featured Ladbroke Handicap at Lingfield in which he will try to defy a 6lbs penalty for a recent course and distance victory.



Harvey Mayson