Cheltenham & Doncaster Tips for 29th January 2022

Result: £-7.00 Results for Cheltenham & Doncaster Tips for 29th January 2022

The Cheltenham Festival continues to grow ever larger on the horizon. Weekend after weekend we see a big performance by at least one horse who is tipped for big things at Cheltenham and that will almost certainly be the case this weekend as Cheltenham Racecourse itself hosts its Trials Weekend.

As you would expect, the ITV Racing cameras will be in attendance at Cheltenham for what promises to be a very good day of racing on Saturday. They’ll also be present at Doncaster for another high class card which is headlined by the Sky Bet Chase. There’s a lot to enjoy and a lot to get our teeth stuck into with this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.

1:55 Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase

Grade 3, 2m4½f

Magic Saint

As a trainer with a big yard of horses, Paul Nicholls always has to carefully consider how to play his hand on a big Saturday of racing. He took the decision to enter Simply The Betts in the Cotswold Chase rather than this competitive handicap, leaving Magic Saint as his sole entrant in the first live ITV race of the day.

On the face of it, Magic Saint has a tough task carrying top weight in a race with several horses who can seriously challenge. However, Cepage, Frodon, Annacotty and Wishfull Thinking have all won this race carrying at least 11st8lb in the last eight years so class can find a way. Although his handicap mark has fallen over the course of 2021, Magic Saint’s form has improved steadily with his three runs this season so 5/1 is a price to get excited about on his chances.

2:10 Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle

Grade 2, 2m½f


After a battling win in a mares’ handicap at Ludlow, Miranda is the bookies’ favourite as she steps back into Graded company. It wasn’t pretty that day but Miranda certainly showed that she knows how to get her head out in front and the form has since been confirmed courtesy of a win and a second-place finish for Voice Of Calm.

Western Victory is an interesting option lower down in the market. She went way out in front in a 2m7½f contest at Ascot just last weekend before eventually being caught up and passed by the field. Dropping her all the way back to 2m½f is a bold move by connections who must have seen something. Western Approach and the rest of the challengers do have a tough task to get the better of Miranda for the partnership of Bryony Frost and Paul Nicholls.

2:30 Paddy Power Cotswold Chase

Grade 2, 3m1½f

Aye Right

One of the big disappointments when final declarations were made for Trials Day was the news that Ahoy Senor will not be taking on Chantry House in the Cotswold Chase. The highly talented novice is not the only horse in the ante post betting who has a chance of seriously challenging Chantry House though.

Simply The Betts and Aye Right are both capable of taking advantage should Chantry House not fire. The chances of that are surely relatively high after Chantry House’s awful run at Kempton last time out. He will have his favoured good ground but you’d have to be quite brave to back him at a best price of 10/11. Instead, Aye Right is much more appealing at odds of 7/2. On this Saturday last year Aye Right finished second in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster but he has more than picked himself up from that disappointment. Aye Right continues to improve and can secure a heartwarming win for his trainer Harriet Graham.

2:45 Albert Bartlett River Don Novices’ Hurdle

Grade 2, 3m½f

Not At Present

Not At Present looks the value play in this important Grade 2 contest. Ben Pauling’s seven year old doesn’t rate quite as highly as the three horses above him in the betting but you get the feeling when watching him race that he likes just doing enough. That is not to say that he has displayed any lack of effort. Indeed, he plugged on supremely well having been written off in-running to win last time out at Fontwell and he won’t go down without a fight at Doncaster.

Pauling has admitted that it took a little longer than he’d hope for Not At Present to really learn his job but now the penny has dropped he has the potential to rate quite a bit higher than his current mark of 123. We know in jumps racing, especially over the longer trips, that heart often trumps quality so don’t be surprised if Not At Present battles away to a career-best performance and gets the job done at a price of 6/1.

3:05 Welsh Marches Stallions At Chapel Stud Cleeve Hurdle

Grade 2, 3m


At this stage of the season, several high profile horses hold entries in multiple races at the Cheltenham Festival. Champ is among that number with the Stayers’ Hurdle and the Gold Cup both potential options for Nicky Henderson’s 10 year old. JP McManus would love for Champ to have success in the Gold Cup as he has long been marked out as a special horse but he isn’t prone to letting his heart rule his head and Champ just looks a much better horse over hurdles.

Champ’s win in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot showed that his being pulled up in last year’s Gold Cup did not have to be the end of his ambition in Grade 1 company. Champ beat Thyme Hill and Paisley Park that day in December and the latter is among the four rivals that he’ll face on Saturday. Emma Lavelle’s stable star is not done yet and cannot be written off but it is a big ask to get the better of Champ who is the right favourite at a short price of 1/2.

3:20 Sky Bet Handicap Chase

Listed, 3m

Canelo EW

The Sky Bet Handicap Chase is one of the biggest jumps races of the season at Doncaster. As you would expect of a handicap with a big field and a nice prize, this tends to be a competitive race that produces surprises regularly. We may not see another 40/1 winner after Takingrisks won at that price last year but you should expect at least one bigger priced horse included in the first three home.

Pricing him at odds of 12/1, the market does not believe that the chances of Canelo winning the Sky Bet Chase are outlandish but there is still quite a lot to like about the price. For all that his form this season has been disappointing, Alan King was happy with how he returned after his summer break and won’t be at all upset that he has dropped to 137 in the rankings. That gives Canelo a platform on which to build towards another run in the Grand National and he can return for each way backers in the big one at Doncaster.

3:40 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Registered At The Classic Novices’ Hurdle)

Grade 2, 2m4½f


Henry Daly had a couple of options for Hillcrest this week. His visually stunning seven year old hasn’t been overly tested so far this season but keeps on winning and should head to the Cheltenham Festival with his momentum unchecked.

2022 started in perfect fashion for Hillcrest who overcame his biggest challenge so far to see off I am Maximus by two lengths. He looked happy enough on his first start at Cheltenham but it makes sense to give him another spin around the track on Saturday before a crack at either the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle or Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. This looks like an easier race on paper and Hillcrest should be able to see off Balco Coastal and North Lodge to win at odds of 13/8.