Simon Holt best bets and tips for Saturday December 29

Don't miss Simon Holt's latest preview
Don't miss Simon Holt's latest preview

Simon Holt has four Saturday selections across the major UK meetings at Doncaster and Newbury, including Enniscoffey Oscar.


Recommended bets: Saturday December 29


With the exception of the Challow Hurdle, the quality of racing steps down a gear, compared to the Christmas festivities, at Newbury and Doncaster on Saturday when there are some tricky handicaps which need solving.

The Challow has attracted a field of seven promising novices, all of whom have won on their latest starts and, while I was much taken with Champ's victory over the course and distance earlier in the month, this looks very competitive.

Another horse who really impressed last time was REIKERS ISLAND who jumped very well to win at Wincanton and, while raised 13lb in the weights, he may well prove up to it in the Betway Mandarin Handicap Chase.

Very lightly raced, this five-year-old appears to have great chasing potential and, before slamming the in-form Some Chaos in Somerset, he had shaped nicely behind the improving Just A Sting on his fencing debut at Exeter.

This demands more of Richard Johnson's mount but he is easily the most progressive horse in the field.

Earlier, it may be worth taking a chance on RAINBOW DREAMER returning to winning form in the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap Hurdle.

Alan King's formerly smart juvenile hurdler had been off the course for 18 months when travelling well until the second last at Aintree earlier in the month.

King thinks he will come on again from another run but the five-year-old won over two and a quarter miles on the Flat at Newbury in April, 2017 before finishing fourth in the Ascot Stakes and has plenty of potential off his current hurdles rating which is 33lb higher than his Flat mark (whereas 40lb is typically the normal difference).

At Doncaster, conditions should be dry enough for STATION MASTER to gain a deserved success in the MansionBet Handicap Chase after two solid seconds so far this season.

Kim Bailey's gelding also chased home Just A Sting (now up 12lb since) at Uttoxeter in October and then ran a brave race behind The Young Master at Cheltenham.

Station Master was within two lengths of the winner jumping the last on the latter occasion and runs here off the same mark.

Finally, ENNISCOFFEY OSCAR is taken to improve on his good course record in the closing MansionBet Handicap Hurdle.

Emma Lavelle's six-year-old is unbeaten in two starts at Doncaster and runs off the same rating as when beating Shannon Bridge and Samuel Jackson (both in very good form at the time) over the course and distance last January.

Things haven't worked out for Enniscoffey Oscar over fences more recently, and the return to hurdling can pay off.


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