kevin-o-malley-the-tips-den-ante-postAfter hitting the bookies with Aso and Sizing Tennessee last week, Kevin O’Malley returns with selections in the London National at Sandown, along with a double figure pick in the Becher Chase at Aintree on Saturday...

14/1 Vieux Lion Rouge Can Repeat 2016 Becher Chase win for Pipe

Aintree lover Blaklion is an 8/1 favourite to stage a repeat of his very classy win in the Becher Chase last year, but he is 5lb higher this term and comes here without a prep run, having had the benefit of finishing 2nd to Bristol De Mai in the Charlie Hall in 2017. He’s still the one they all have to beat, but at healthier odds of 14/1, I’ll take a chance on 2016 Becher Chase winner VIEUX LION ROUGE for trainer David Pipe. In four of his last five starts, this 9yo has ran considerably below par on bare figures, which is a concern when seeking some encouraging recent form. But two of those efforts were in the Grand National, the latest of which was a fair effort in completing the course behind Tiger Roll, having screwed quite badly sideways into the Canal Turn fence. He may well have finished closer but for that howling error and before that race, he ran very well in a Listed handicap chase at Ascot. He returns to action in the Becher Chase on the back of a breathing operation, which might well help him finish off his races with a bit more resilience. On his day, he is a very capable chaser and he won this race when fresh two years ago from 4lb lower. The Grand National fences suit Vieux Lion Rouge very well and if he jumps around safely and is within a few lengths of the leaders approaching the last fence, I think he’ll stay on strongly to the line and go very close indeed. Regular jockey Tom Scudamore is riding at the top of his game just now, and confidence will be high following his win on Sizing Tennessee in the Ladbrokes Trophy last weekend.

Doing Fine Handicapped to Strike in London National

We’re supporting another returning runner in this 3m5f marathon, which traditionally closes the card on Tingle Creek day at Sandown Park. In 2017, Barry Geraghty rode this hold-up performer and from a long way out, the horse had an awful lot on his hands to make up ground from well behind the pace. It is his racing style, but I can’t help but feel the horse would benefit from a more conscious effort to get him just a few lengths closer to the action this time, because he stays really well. Neil Mulholland’s charge flew up the Sandown hill to finish 4th behind Benbens who made virtually all, while the 2nd and 3rd were also never far away from the pace. Three of the 21 fences were omitted on the day and if Doing Fine had those 3 extra fences to jump, along with being kept just a smidge closer to the leaders and a little less wide on the track, he’d have won the race quite cosily. The 10yo ran a respectable race behind Rock The Kasbah at Cheltenham last time out this season and he runs off the same mark of 132 on Saturday, a very handy 5lb lower than last year. He is available to back at 9/1 and is no more than a 4/1 shot in my book, assuming this is his target once again. I'd like to see Noel Fehily get the leg up this time. If not, the reliable and no-nonsense Leighton Aspell, who rode him two starts ago.

You can get in touch with me via email: Kevin.OMalley@GG.CO.UK OR by finding me on Twitter: @KOM_GGRacing



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