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The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections for 27th January 2024

The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections from Fairyhouse, Cheltenham & Doncaster


SBK Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle (Grade 3) 2.15
Jade De Grugy
French import Jade De Grugy will be a short order favourite to take this Grade 3 contest. The Doctor Dino mare could not have impressed more than when scoring on her first start on Irish soil, cruising 15 lengths clear of a strung out field in that Maiden. Not thrown in here, and looks the pick of the Willie Mullins squad, ahead of A Penny A Hundred. Should win this


JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) 12.05
Burdett Road
James Owen has a star in the making on his hands here with Burdett Road, who is already favourite for the Triumph at this year’s Festival. He was over 6 lengths up on the smart An Bradan Feasa here in the November meeting, form which has since been franked with that rival going in next time out on this track. Able to deliver on ground from good to soft, he’s hard to oppose for this final trial before the real thing in March

Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) 1.15
Il Ridoto
Harry Cobden could be onto a winning streak if Burdett Road lands the opener, and Il Ridoto defends his crown in this Premier Handicap. He beat Fugitif in that race, but Richard Hobson’s charge exacted revenge back here in December, having let Il Ridoto do most of the donkey work and pouncing late. Up another 5lbs, but clearly acts on this track, so can defy the penalty to score again

Paddy Power Cotswold Chase (Grade 2) 1.50
Stay Away Fay (nap)
The Albert Bartlett winner from last season’s Festival moves out of novice company on just his third start over fences. However, trainer Paul Nicholls thinks the Shantou gelding is ready to mix it in open company, and has been upbeat about his chances this week, saying that this course suits Stay Away Fay. The main danger is likely to be the Newbury Coral Cup winner, Datsalrightgino, who is proven at this trip, with Royal Pagaille returning an improved model this term after beating Bravemansgame in the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park also in the mix. Royal Pagaille might want more cut in the ground, so Stay Away Fay is the one to follow

My Pension Expert Clarence House Chase (Grade 1) 2.25
It’s very hard to get away from the appeal of Nicky Henderson’s Jonbon to make it three from three this season. This full-brother to the smart Douvan has beaten Edwardstone twice already this term, and will be expected to win this at skinny enough odds once more. That said, his only two career defeats came here at Prestbury Park, behind Constitution Hill in the Supreme Novices’ in 2022, before chasing El Fabiolo home in last year’s Arkle. Should be winning this if he’s to get on terms with rival again here in the Champion Chase, but not much bang for your buck

Unibet Hurdle (Grade 2) 3.00
The outstanding Juvenile of last season, winning the Triumph here at the Festival in impressive style. With entries in both the Champion Hurdle and the Mares’ Hurdle at this year’s National Hunt highlight, this is surely to be her prep run for the Festival, rather than taking on stablemate State Man in next weeks’ Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown. Paul Nicholls sends out Rubaud, who has made great strides this year, and will make hay if Lossiemouth is not perfectly tuned, with Harry Fry’s Love Envoi making up the leading pack. It’s taken on trust that Lossiemouth is fully race-fit, with Rubaud ready to pounce in a good duel should she not be at her sharpest

McCoy Contractors Cleeve Hurdle (Grade 2) 3.35
Paisley Park (nb)
The grand old boy might get one more day in the sun and in this race, he’s already got three wins and may get a fourth. This is likely to be an easier task than the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival, so with Jeremy Scott’s Dashel Drasher sure to keep the field honest from the front. That could play into Paisley Park’s hands, and this time Dashel Drasher is 6lbs worse off than when beating him at Newbury Park in December. Paisley Park to remain at the top of the Stayers’ tree with a fourth win in the Cleeve Hurdle

SSS Super Alloys Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 4.10
Antrim Coast
Irish raider Antrim Coast could be the answer to the closer here. Progressing from a win in a maiden at Punchestown in October to a neck runners-up spot here later that month, there’s obvious ability and this Presenting gelding lines up here totally unexposed after just three starts over timber. Challow Hurdle fourth, Johnnywho, rates the main danger while Harry Fry’s unbeaten Gidleigh Park takes a big step up in class but has done nothing wrong so far. Gavin Cromwell has his string in fine fettle, so Antrim Coast gets the nudge


SBK Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (Listed) 12.20
Max Of Stars
Gordon Elliott fields the unbeaten Juvenile Wodhooh for this Listed contest, but the chance is taken on Ollie Pears’s Max Of Stars. Clearly not at home on heavy ground at Aintree last time out, returning to a firmer surface here could bring out more, though he has nearly 3 lengths to find on the jolly, Wodhooh. However, Max Of Stars gets a 5lb pull from that rival here which should be enough to turn the tables, and Brian Hughes on the reins adds to the appeal

SBK Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 1.30
Jeriko Du Reponet
Already high in the ante-post betting for the Cheltenham Festival’s curtain raiser, Jeriko Du Reponet can maintain the unbeaten record in the Supreme Trial here. A brace of odds-on successes at Newbury confirmed the promise, and Nicky Henderson’s charge has already notched up a decent rating. Lump Sum rates the clear threat for this Grade 2 contest, but will find this ground on the quicker side, so Jeriko Du Reponet gets the tick

SBK Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 2.05
Gala Marceau
Willie Mullins is double handed for this Mares’ Hurdle, but the ready preference is for Gala Marceau. She was the one that edged out the smart Lossiemouth at the Dublin Racing Festival last season, before that rival went on to win the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, so with that scalp under belt there’s solid form for this Grade 2. Ashroe Diamond was third in the Hatton’s Grace on her seasonal reappearance, but a long way behind Teahupoo and Impaire Et Passe, so Gala Marceau gets the nudge

Albert Bartlett River Don Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 2.40
I Love My Baie
French bred I Love My Baie might hold the key to this Grade 2. Upped in distance to two and a half miles at Ayr, he seemed to relish that extra trip, and might have even more to offer over this 3 miles. Destroytheevidence and Welcom To Cartries should also be in the money, but I Love The Baie is an interesting one

Sbk Great Yorkshire Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) 3.15
Famous Bridge
Nicky Richards’ Famous Bridge has gone from strength to strength this season, with a brace of wins at Haydock Park in the book. Quicker ground here, but he has form on good going and his latest win in the Tommy Whittle showed a good attitude. Certainly not fully out there over this trip, and would be a popular winner lining up in the Trevor Hemmings silks

The Mandarin

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