Wincanton races: tips, racecards and previews for Saturday’s Badger Ales card.

IT'S one of the quieter Saturdays in the National Hunt calendar.

But there's plenty of talent on show throughout the card and the big handicap is always a treat as Present Man hunts a hat-trick.

Credit: Getty Images - Getty

Race 1 - 12.40 Frome Scaffolding Group EBF Stallions "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle

On paper this looks a match between Paul Nicholls' Flic Ou Voyou and Colin Tizzard's Fiddlerontheroof.

The latter was a really smart second to Thyme Hill in the Persian War on his hurdles debut and was well-backed that day.

He may just have a bit too much class for these but speed is king at Wincanton and at Chepstow he looked more of a galloper to me and a scopier type.

This drop in trip and emphasis on speed might just catch him out and at his likely odds, we can look elsewhere.

Flic Ou Voyou will be fairly short himself, but will step forwards plenty from his opening effort at the same meeting.

He only ran in a Novice Hurdle rather than the Persian War, but the form has worked out very well. Sir Valentine has won nicely, Proschema has gone in and Harry Senior went close at Exeter.

He gets the nod with Nicholls winning four of the last five renewals of this.

First Lord De Cuet ended his bumper career with a 13 length demolition and can't be ignored whatsoever. A bit of market support and he is of interest.

Espion makes his second outing for Philip Hobbs and why he was smashed by Flic Ou Voyou last time, this is a completely different test and more can be expected here.

SELECTION: Flic Ou Voyou

DANGER: Fiddlerontheroof

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Race 2 - 1.15 Z Hotels Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Chase

The rain is due to come by the bucket load on Saturday and there could be a good few non-runners throughout the afternoon.

Enola Gay drops back in class here and will be popular for the Venetia Williams team. Last time he ran in this grade he bolted up by six lengths.

But he's a rare Williams horse that prefers better ground and he was well beat last time out off only a pound higher.

Capeland won this last season and connections run Saintemillion here with Lorcan Williams taking 3lbs off.

He has had a wind-op and his mark of 123 doesn't look prohibitive given how lightly raced he is over fences. He should be right in the mix given a clear round.

Bramble Brook looks in the grips of the handicapper, while Master Burbidge could struggle if the rain does fall.

The one that makes most appeal from a punting perspective is Jeremy Scott's NATIVE ROBIN.

He likes it around Wincanton and doesn't mind soft ground at all. The handicapper isn't giving him the easiest time but he's only 4lbs higher than his last win and is as consistent as they come at this level.

Keep Moving is another of major interest. He's another lightly-tried over fences in open company, but most of his best form has come on a sound surface.

SELECTION: Native Robin

DANGER: Saintemillion

Race 3 - 1.50 Richard Barber Memorial Mares' Handicap Hurdle

This doesn't look the strongest heat in the world for the grade and Danse Idol will be a very well supported horse for the Paul Nicholls team.

They won this race last year with If You Say Run, and this mare has a similar profile although she makes her comeback here off a lengthy layoff and 129 is no gimme out of novice company.

At a bigger price SIXTY'S BELLE is the bet here. She's only had one run in handicap company where she finished a good second to the progressive Annie Mc.

She backed that up with a convincing win over Kissesforkatie at Newton Abbot and a mark of 124 looks very generous judged on those two efforts.

She's moved from Alan King's to Tom Symonds over the break and if she is fit enough to do herself justice she looks a cracking bet. A bit of support in the market and she could be the one to upset the jolly.

Deputy's Oscar makes her handicap debut and is another that could be ahead of her mark judged on her efforts in novice company.

She's stepped forward in a big way this season but that latest effort at Market Rasen could flatter her a bit.

Alan King runs Midnightreferndum and she is one of only a handful in here who will relish the mud if it comes up that way.

Duhallow Gesture was a horse of interest entering this campaign. I thought she would be very well-handicapped but failed to deliver on her comeback. She needs to bounce back here but is interesting at bigger odds.

Outofthisworld is another sneaky one. She is very inconsistent, but on her day is smart. She beat Annie Mc off levels last season and Harry Fry is excellent with horses like this.

SELECTION: Sixty's Belle

DANGER: Outofthisworld

Wincanton Saturday Fancies

NAP - 12.40 Flic Ou Voyou (Bet here)

EW Stab - 1.50 Sixty's Belle (Bet here)

Race 4 - 2.25 John Romans Park Homes "Rising Stars" Novices' Chase (Grade 2)

The first Graded race of the afternoon is a hot little Novices' Chase with Tizzard and Nicholls again going head-to-head at the top of the betting.

Reserve Tank - a Grade 1 winner as a novice hurdler - was beat at short odds at Chepstow, but ran well enough in a trappy heat.

He is undoubtedly talented but again this track is about speed and that's what draws me to IF YOU SAY RUN for the Paul Nicholls team.

He's won this race with the likes of Frodon and Modus in recent years and why there is no doubt Reserve Tank will be the better animal down the line, on Saturday the mare looks the bet.

At the bottom of the market, Garo De Juilley is a huge price if the rain does fall as heavily as predicted.

This is a big step up for Solomon Grey, but saying he is without a chance isn't accurate and the Dan Skelton yard know how to spoil a party.

He's had a wind-op and is more experienced than some of these.

SELECTION: If You Say Run

DANGER: Reserve Tank

Race 5 - 3.00 Unibet Elite Hurdle (Grade 2)

This tends not to be the strongest race of the year but Fusil Raffles comes into this with a huge reputation and has already been spoken of as a potential Champion Hurdler.

But that is absurd and he has yet to be tested in any form whatsoever and his odds are untouchable.

Juvenile form has a habit of being found out, and quickly at that, and it takes a good one to go on and prove a real success in open company.

That's not to say he can't win, far from it, it's just he is impossible to back in this at strong odds-on.

The bet has to be the battle hardened GRAND SANCY, again for Paul Nicholls.

He fell when beat last time out at Kempton, but shaped okay that day and will certainly step forwards for it.

This isn't a strong race and if the favourite isn't up to it he should be bang there and is plenty strong in a finish.

Nicholls also runs Christopher Wood who isn't without a chance, but again that shows the lack of depth to this Grade 2.

He is talented, but still lightly-raced and will be one for top handicaps down the line you'd think.

Beat The Judge is an admirable type for Gary Moore, but has 12 lengths to find with the favourite and would need a horror run from him to win.

SELECTION: Grand Sancy

DANGER: Fusil Raffles

Race 6 - 3.35 Badger Beers Silver Trophy Handicap Chase (Listed Race)

The feature is always a good spectacle, and a proper old fashioned handicap chase.

White Moon has been a steady gamble in the build up to this. Presumably the money revolves around his latest run where he looked the winner before falling late on.

But he's been given a 5lbs hike for that and this is a much tougher assignment. He could well win this and prove far better than his mark, but given his profile and odds, is a big swerve from my book.

For winning purposes it's hard to look past PRESENT MAN. He has won this the last twice and is tailor made for this track with Bryony Frost always getting a good song out of him.

He's been well beat on his three starts since last year's win and is now only 4lbs higher than when victorious.

Prior to last year's win he'd also shown nothing prior and came into it fresh. Connections are closely linked to the race sponsors and little else matters bar this year after year.

The only worry may be the ground. A proper slog wouldn't suit and brings plenty more into contention.

Give Me A Copper is always fancied but it's hard not to think that the handicapper is in charge at the moment. He's just not quite as good as people think. Although he will win a big one sooner rather than later so no more is being said than that.

Rock The Kasbah tends to come on for a run and The Young Master is another that won't want the heavens to open.

Sumkindofking was second in this last year but is now higher in the weights and won't want a all out slog.

At a bigger price Walk In The Mill looks worthy of an each-way shout for Robert Walford. His horses are going okay and this chap can go well fresh.

He stays all day and the rain will really bring him into this. He looks a big price.

Whisper also deserves a shout and if he bounces back to anywhere near his best form could spring a surprise.

SELECTION: Present Man

EACH-WAY OPTIONS: Walk In The Mill & Whisper

Race 7 - 4.10 Jaytrack Employee Day Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race

The closing bumper is not a betting proposition at this stage.

You'd need a clue or two with very little form to go on and the paddock and market tend to help with that.

The obvious place to start is Paul Nicholls' Confirmation Bias. He won this in the same colours last year and he is bred for a bit of speed and costly at £150,000.

Harry Fry knows how to ready a bumper horse and he has Millbank Flyer here who will be ready first up.

Philip Hobbs runs Forever Des Long and Jonjo O'Neill has point winner Pens Man out for the first time.

In all honesty you'd be best keeping your pennies in your pocket here unless you really like the look of one before the off.

TENTATIVE NOD: Millbank Flyer

Wincanton Saturday Fancies

NAP - 12.40 Flic Ou Voyou (Bet here)

EW Stab - 1.50 Sixty's Belle (Bet here)

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