Angus McNae's top tips for Thursday: Pineapple can pack punch

By Angus McNae
Wed 17 Oct 2018

QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday promises great sport, albeit with the emphasis on horses who can handle soft ground.

Much has been made of the perception that Cracksman has been below form this year and that he seems a tad reluctant, but I disagree.

He has produced two top class speed figures this season on ground that’s too fast for him. Quite simply, he wants cut in the ground and will get it on Saturday. Bearing that in mind he could rip the QIPCO Champion Stakes apart, much as he did last year when winning by seven lengths.

Four selections on Thursday, all at Carlisle as I like to tip horses running at Racing UK tracks.

1.40 Carlisle: Zabeel Star

This horse is chucked in off his hurdles mark of 89. I admit that he doesn’t come into this race in much form but given that he is at worst a 70-rated horse on the Flat he surely must go close here off his lowly mark.

He was quite versatile as regards trip on the Flat but, given that he is a mile and s half winner on the level, he should stay here and purely from a handicapping point of view he has to be supported.

2.10 Carlisle: Fin And Game

Let’s get it straight: Brian Hughes is good for Donald McCain. I say that because McCain likes his horses ridden positively, yet Hughes is a patient rider and their union seems to have found a happy medium.

This horse makes his chase debut in a handicap after having shown plenty of ability over hurdles last season. He goes well fresh and, off a break, should be hard to peg back if, as expected, he makes the running.

3.15 Carlisle: Al Dancer

The Twiston-Davies team usually make hay at this time of year and this useful bumper horse can win at the first time of asking over hurdles.

To judge by his efforts in bumpers, if he jumps well he will win. His fourth in a Grade Two bumper at Ascot last season tells us as much and he should be too good for this lot.

4.20 Carlisle: Pineapple Rush

This mare won her first two hurdles in pretty good style but floundered a bit on handicap debut.

However, that was a good effort in a decent race and now in a slightly lesser contest, from the yard of Philip Hobbs, she can strike here.

It is interesting that both of her wins came under soft conditions and she will get the same here. At about 7-2 she looks to be a solid wager.

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