A busy Saturday for Paul Nicholls with 11 runners at Sandown and north of the border at Musselburgh. Here's the Betfair Ambassador's exclusive views on the chances of each...
"Wonderful Charm goes well fresh, ran very well first time up under a big weight at Cheltenham last season and should win this."
13:50 - Irving
On a retrieval mission here after a silly little mistake early on at Haydock a fortnight ago tripped him up. He was fine afterwards, will relish the ground at Sandown, stays very well and the form of his previous win at Newcastle is strong.
I am hoping that cheek pieces will sharpen Irving up and make him concentrate better. He must have a good chance even though he has to give 4lbs to Buveur d'Air who has been running over fences.
14:25 - two runners
We have a decent hand here with two runners in this Grade 1 Chase and I find it hard to split them. They are both really nice horses and there is nothing between them. Le Prezien is progressing well over fences, jumps accurately and is perhaps a bit more street wise than Clan Des Obeaux because he has had more experience.
Clan Des Obeaux
Was mighty impressive when winning at Newbury and did precious little wrong when just pipped at Cheltenham on New Year's Day by Whisper who is very smart on his day.
Trip and ground should be ideal for Clan Des Obeaux who is ridden by Sean Bowen here and in the JLT Chase at Cheltenham as Sam Twiston-Davies has chosen Politologue in the JLT Chase.
Clan Des Obeaux will love the ground and the trip is ideal at this stage of his career.
15:00 - two runners
A good horse who got back on the winning track last time on Boxing Day at Wincanton where he idled and didn't do a tap once he hit the front. So I am putting on cheek pieces first time to help him concentrate.
The ground will suit Mr Mix who has improved since Wincanton. He will go well with jockey Stan Sheppard taking a handy 5lbs off his back.
I'm bringing him back to hurdles here to sharpen him up as he has been running moderately over fences. I suspect he faces a tough task as he is on a very stiff mark over hurdles and fences.
15:35 - Irish Saint
Has run well on both starts after missing a season with a leg injury. He got out of his ground at Ascot last time because he jumped moderately at times but Nick Scholfield was adamant that he stayed the three miles well. Irish Saint has done plenty of schooling since then and with improvement to come I am expecting a decent show from him.
12:25 - Touch Kick
A good horse who will win races but has been too keen for his own good so far this season and needs to learn to settle to fulfil his potential. While he probably wants two-and-a half miles this shorter trip might help as they should go a better gallop from the start. He worked very well on Thursday and should go close provided he relaxes.
14:05 - Just A Par
I've sent Just A Par to Musselburgh in search of better ground and four miles because I can't find a race with those conditions in the South. He is better going right handed, is still on a reasonable mark, has come on bundles for his comeback run at Newbury and Harry Cobden takes a valuable 3 lbs off his back.
14:40 - Bistouri d'Honore
Won nicely at Exeter early in November before finishing third at Taunton and has had a little break since then. While Bistouri d'Honore is a three-mile chaser in the making and will improve physically for another summer on his back he should be winning a handicap hurdle over a trip on good ground before the end of the season.
15:15 - Diego Du Charmil
Goes well fresh, wants good ground and I probably ran him too quickly at Ascot after he won on his seasonal comeback at Chepstow in October. He then found the ground much too testing at Ascot before Xmas. He has had a nice break since then and this track and going should be altogether more suitable for Diego Du Charmil, who like quite a few of mine, looks handicapped to the hilt.
15:45 - Wonderful Charm
A sound jumper who was trained for the Grand National last year until the ground went against him. He hasn't won for a long time but the plan is again to aim him at the National if conditions at Aintree are in his favour. Wonderful Charm goes well fresh, ran very well first time up under a big weight at Cheltenham last season and should win this.
For Tony Calvin's Horse Racing Tips for the live ITV4 Races on Saturday then please follow the link