Timeform UK SmartPlays: Saturday January 30

It's Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham on Saturday.
It's Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Timeform pick out their three best bets from Doncaster and Cheltenham Trials Day on Saturday...

"Thistlecrack already looks the best staying hurdler around this season, but may have even more to offer based on the way he thrashed Reve de Sivola last time..."

Champagne West - Cheltenham 14:25

Champagne West remains open to improvement after a good second in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup here in December on his handicap debut over fences, despite making a significant error at the seventh fence, and is taken to make amends from a 4 lb higher mark. That form has already been franked by stable companion Village Vic - the stable first string that day on jockey bookings - who has won since, and with Richard Johnson on board today, Champagne West rates a good bet here. Irish Cavalier has been dropped 2 lbs since a good run in the Paddy Power here in November, and could be the biggest threat to the selection.

Buywise - Doncaster 15:15

Ziga Boy could be vulnerable after a 16 lb rise in the weights for his C&D win last time in a less competitive race, and with Le Mercurey on a stiff-looking mark for his handicap debut over fences with Paul Nicholls seemingly struggling for a bit of form at present, it could be worth giving Buywise one more chance. Despite the fact he is creeping up the weights this season without yet adding to his tally over fences, Buywise has produced just about his best ever efforts on his last two starts, including when narrowly denied in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, and provided he can keep his jumping errors to a minimum, he could go close if seeing out the trip.

Thistlecrack - Cheltenham 15:35

World Hurdle favourite Thistlecrack has thrived in these sort of conditions this winter, winning both the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury and the Long Walk at Ascot, and having beaten off the majority of the main protagonists in this division already, he is expected to have enough to deal with the new challenges of both Camping Ground and Ptit Pig on Saturday. Thistlecrack already looks the best staying hurdler around this season, but may have even more to offer based on the way he thrashed Reve de Sivola last time, and he is well worth keeping on side here to tighten his grip on the World Hurdle at the Festival even further.


Timeform UK SmartPlays

Back Champagne West in the 14:25 Cheltenham
Back Buywise in the 15:15 at Doncaster
Back Thistlecrack in the 15:35 Cheltenham

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