General Ting & Valid ReasonTop tipster Andrew Mount has five selections on Saturday


ELIXIR DU GOUET – (12.47 Chepstow, 1pt win - 7/1)

The Venetia Williams-trained ELIXIR DU GOUET, a three-time winner in France, had a disappointing first season in Britain. He started as favourite at Haydock last December on his stable debut but pulled up and the best he could muster in three subsequent outings was a 23-length second of five at Carlisle. It’s possible that he needed a year to acclimatise as many ex-French horses do but it’s more likely that he suffered breathing problems and he reappears here after wind surgery. His trainer has a five from 16 record with runners having their first start after a wind operation (+£17.00 to a £1 level stake at SP), improving to five from nine over fences only (+£24.00). Four of her last five chasers to return from wind surgery have won (the exception was a 40-1 shot at Cheltenham) and it’s worth taking the chance that Elixir Du Gouet can bounce back to winning ways here.


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MINT CONDITION – (12.55 Aintree, 2pts win - 4/1)

MINT CONDITION was a short-priced favourite when scoring narrowly at Bangor last time but I was still impressed as he came from much further back than ideal and also challenged wide. He’s now two from two in handicap hurdles and should be suited by this sharp left-handed track. In the past ten years, patiently-ridden winners of handicap hurdles at Bangor, who were returned to the track within four weeks, had a 21 from 67 record when bidding to follow up (31.3% strike-rate) for a profit of £35.21 to a £1 level stake at SP.


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ALCHEMYSTIQUE – 3.22 Wetherby, 1pt win - 8/1)

I was lucky enough to get to Warwick meeting on November 18th and the one who really caught my eye was 14-1 bumper third ALCHEMYSTIQUE. She was very green in the preliminaries and hung badly to right when looking dangerous in the straight, coming home in third place about eight lengths behind the winner. She was also green post-race, struggling to maintain a true course on the path back to the unsaddling enclosure and can only improve for that initial experience.


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PERFORMANCE POET – (4.00 Wolverhampton, 1pt win - 10/1)

Progeny of Poet’s Voice have a good record on Wolverhampton’s Tapeta surface, landing 43 of their 304 starts (14.1% strike-rate) for a profit of £26.15 to a £1 level stake at SP (+£120.60 at Betfair SP). They tend to struggle on Polytrack, especially at Kempton where they have a 5.2% strike-rate (13 winners from 248, -£136.25 at SP). PERFORMANCE POET finished a close-up 12-1 third from a tricky wide draw over 7f here on her racecourse debut in June and has since been campaigned on turf and Polytrack without success. She was only seventh at Lingfield last time but the front-runners never came back and she couldn’t strike a blow, coming home about four lengths behind the winner.


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STORM OVER – 6.00 Wolverhampton, 1pt win - 12/1)

STORM OVER disappointed at Chelmsford when I recommended him last time but he was awkward at the start and couldn’t hold his position, getting sand kicked in his face by all-the-way winner Nigel Nott, who has gone in again since. His record left-handed now reads 1110243821407 (4-13), with his three runs at Wolverhampton returning figures of 1st, 2nd (14-1) and 2nd by a head (9-2). I’m giving him one more chance tonight.


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Today’s Best Bets

Elixir Du Gouet – 1pt win – 12.47 Chepstow (7-1 William Hill)

Mint Conditions – 2pts win – 12.55 Aintree (4-1 generally)

Alchemystique – 1pt win – 3.22 Wetherby (8/1 generally)

Performance Poet – 1pt win – 4.00 Wolverhampton (10-1 William Hill)

Storm Over – 1pt win – 6.00 Wolverhampton (12-1 William Hill)

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