Racing Tips: Birchdale to come good for Henderson at Cheltenham?

Midnight Shadow

Saturday’s racing odds, tips and preview

With the racing world gearing up for Cheltenham Festival in March, many eyes will be on the famous course this weekend to see how the hopefuls fare on Trials Day.

There’s a raft of top racing from there on ITV today, as well as a few intriguing contests at Doncaster – including a 3m Listed Handicap.

We run the rule over the action and deliver those weekly tips…

Birchdale – 3:00 Cheltenham

Jockey Barry Geraghty is in decent form at present, riding four winners in the last month – including 8/1 shot Malinas Jack at Leopardstown. And he’s back in action for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, on Nicky Henderson’s Birchdale.

The five-year-old won his only prior race in a competitive field of 17 in the Maiden Hurdle at Warwick last month. Having won by four lengths in that race, it’s no surprise to see him amongst the favourites as he pairs up again with Geraghty.

Factor in a disappointing ride at Newbury for fellow challenger Brewin’upastorm a few weeks back, and this looks like Birchdale’s to lose.

Midnight Shadow – 3:35 Cheltenham

The Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle looks set to be an intriguing contest. Black Op and Paisley Park are likely to be strong contenders, but this could be Midnight Shadow’s day.

Sue Smith’s charge has already won a Grade 2 at Cheltenham this month, beating the much-fancied Wholestone to triumph in the Relkeel Hurdle on New Year’s Day.

Regular jockey Danny Cook is back in the saddle for this one, having ridden Midnight Shadow to three wins in his last five outings. That included a victory in the Scottish Champion Hurdle where they came good on hefty odds of 25/1.

Art Mauresque (E/W) – 3:15 Doncaster

With the likes of Dingo Dollar and O O Seven involved, a victory in the Handicap Chase is possibly just beyond the nine-year-old. However, Paul Nicholls’ gelding looks likely to be in the fray.

An impressive turn at Ascot in November saw a second-place finish in the Gold Cup Handicap Chase, comfortably ahead of the well-fancied Go Conquer in third.

The going is set to be good at the Yorkshire course, and almost all of Art Mauresque’s best performances over the years have come on good ground. Once again ridden by Harry Cobden, the nine-year-old should give backers a real run for their money.

ITV Racing Tips:

1:50 Cheltenham – Siruh Du Lac

2:05 Doncaster – Truckers Lodge

2:25 Cheltenham – Elegant Escape

2:40 Doncaster – Indefatigable (E/W)

3:00 Cheltenham – Birchdale

3:15 Doncaster – Art Mauresque

3:35 Cheltenham – Midnight Shadow

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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