ITV Racing Saturday Preview - 23/04/22

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Sandown - April 22 2022
Sandown 12:50
Harry Cobden

Knappers Hill

J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 6
Weight: 11-12
OR: 134
Days: 7

The first race of the day at Sandown on ITV is the Novices’ Championship Final Handicap Hurdle over two miles and Knappers Hill for Paul Nicholls looks a solid candidate for the race.

A smart bumper horse winning all three of his events on the level, rounding off last season by taking the 18 runner Grade Two Bumper at Aintree’s Grand National meeting, beating horses like stablemate Stage Star.

Over hurdles this term the gelding has raced five times, winning his first two novice events at Chepstow and Wincanton with ease and then went to Ascot when finishing third in a Grade Two behind Grade One winner Jonbon.

Sixth in the Betfair Hurdle after that, he was then seen giving his poorest run of the season over 2m4f at Sandown with the soft ground scuppering any chance he had in the 17 runner Handicap.

Last time out on his preferred good ground he was seen getting back to form when winning a five runner qualifier for this event off top weight easily.

He is top weight again but holds some of the leading form in the race and getting his ideal conditions could be tough to beat.

Haydock - April 22 2022
Haydock 13:05
Neil Callan

Silver Samurai

J: Neil Callan
T: Marco Botti
Age: 5
Weight: 8-7
OR: 89
Days: 52

The only race on ITV from Haydock this weekend is the seven furlong Great Shevington Handicap and Silver Samurai looks a big value player.

The five year old has been in consistent form of late placing in all of his last three events and still being feasibly treated can go one better.

A good second at York in September behind the progressive Challet, he then backed that up at Newcastle over 6f when a close up third.

He has only been seen once this term when a short head second at Kempton back over seven furlongs and returning to turf off a nice weight makes him an attractive bet.

Sandown - April 22 2022
Sandown 13:25
Charlie Hammond

Erne River

J: Charlie Hammond
T: Nick Kent
Age: 7
Weight: 11-0
OR: 144
Days: 16

One of the big events on Saturday from the Esher track is the Grade Two bet365 Oaksey Chase and we have gone with the Nick Kent trained Erne River.

Exciting seven year old who has landed four of his last five events and if putting his fall last time out behind him could have the edge on this field.

A good P2P horse beating Minella Drama over three mile he was then given to Nick Kent where he won two of his three hurdles event, showing a fair bit of ability on both good and soft ground.

He has turned into an even better chaser this term, winning at Doncaster on seasonal debut by six lengths and then backed that up at Wetherby when taking another nice event by 13 lengths.

Stepping up to Grade One company last time out he fell in the Manifesto Chase at Aintree before the race could unfold.

Against some exposed horses in this field that were once very good horses but maybe not to the same level anymore, he looks to have the most scope to improve still and he should enjoy this step up in trip.

Leicester - April 22 2022
Leicester 13:45
William Buick

Path Of Thunder

J: William Buick
T: Charlie Appleby
Age: 5
Weight: 9-2
OR: 107
Days: 49

The only flat race on Saturday on ITV from Leicester is the Listed EBF Stallions King Richard III Stakes and a field that contains some decent horses made it a tricky affair to find the winner.

However, Path Of Thunder for a thriving yard and jockey with Charlie Appleby currently running at a 57% strike rate and Buick close behind him with a 39% strike rate.

Winning a race over a mile at Newmarket last July, he was tried in the Golden Mile at Glorious Goodwood and ran no race.

Saved for a stint in Meydan this year, he returned over a mile in January on quick ground and won the 14 runner Zabeel Trophy with ease.

He was then tried in Group 2 company in the Zabeel Mile when fourth behind multiple group winner Real World.

Last seen over 7f at Meydan again he was a good third in a Conditions race and The yard, the jockey and the horse getting his ideal fast conditions after a small break, he has a lot going in his favour on Saturday.

Sandown - April 22 2022
Sandown 14:00
Harry Skelton

Nube Negra

J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
Age: 8
Weight: 11-7
OR: 167
Days: 140

The Grade One Celebration Chase sees five runners look for black type glory and Nube Negra for Dan and Harry Skelton has plenty in hi favour.As a novice chaser he showed plenty of ability winning his first two events on good ground and then went to Sandown for the G1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase when a close second behind Esprit Du Large.

He then went to Warwick and was second again in the G2 Kingmaker Novices’ Chase behind Rouge Vif.

Sent into open company the season after that he made a bold statement in December 2020 when beating Altior to land the G2 Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton, off the back of that he went to Cheltenham and finished one of the most unluckiest losers on the week in the Champion Chase.

He finished a half length second to Put The Kettle On, with the gelding getting a horrible passage through and when Skelton managed to get him out for a clear run he ran out of time up the hill.

The gelding rounded off last season finishing third behind Chacun Pour Soi and Allaho in the G1 Punchestown Champion Chase being well beaten.

This horse is best to catch when fresh and he showed that this season when heading to Cheltenham in November and bolting up in the G2 Shloer Chase.

Nube Negra was last seen running a poor race in the G1 Tingle Creek and having been saved for the Champion Chase after that and the ground turning heavy he skipped that and heads into this event in peak condition.

The one to beat.

Sandown - April 22 2022
Sandown 14:32
Jack Tudor

Kitty's Light

J: Jack Tudor
T: Christian Williams
Age: 6
Weight: 11-3
OR: 145
Days: 21

The feature race of the meeting is the Grade Three bet365 Gold Cup over a marathon trip and we have a strong fancy in this one with the Christian Williams trained Kitty's Light looking to have his day in the sun.

A winner at Kelso back in March last year off a mark of 135, he then stepped up in trip for this event off 139 and was a narrow second in a photo-finish running a career best and if not for being hampered would have won the race.

Kitty's Light returned in October at Chepstow finishing a narrow second to a well handicapped rival in Chirico Vallis.

He was then bumped up to a mark of 149 where he finished a superb second in the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase, but struggled back in handicaps since, being pulled up at Newbury and then running no race at all on two occasions in soft ground.

Back down to a mark of 140 two starts ago he was seen getting back to form at Kempton in the Grade Three Coral Trophy he only found stablemate Cap Du Nord too good.

Up 3lb for that he was last seen in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr, where again he bumped into a well handicapped stablemate in Win My Wings, where he could only run on into second behind the mare.

The six year old on Saturday has so much going for him, off a mark of 145 which is only 2lb higher than his Scottish National win, he gets his desired good ground and from giving 10lb away to Win My Wings last time out he is now receiving 9lb, with the mare going up a stone in the weights for her latest win.

We can't look past him and he looks a solid bet.