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Big Bucks headlines special Saturday in front of the C4 cameras

| 24.01.2014

Racing fans are being spoilt this weekend with a host of star names preparing to strike across Doncaster and Cheltenham’s Saturday cards.

The return of Big Bucks is undoubtedly the main show with Annie Power and Rock On Ruby among others providing high quality support.

Below is a preview of all the C4 races from a blockbuster day of action.

13:50 Cheltenham – Wishfull Thinking 6/1

The hat-trick seeking Double Ross will have plenty of supporters for the Twiston-Davies team, however, the only other course-and-distance winner in the race, Wishfull Thinking may represent better value.

Philip Hobbs’ charge has been incredibly consistent over the past few seasons and returned to form when runner-up to Unioniste at Aintree last month.

The stable is in fantastic form also with Hobbs sending out 11 winners from their last 25 runners before today.

14:05 Doncaster – Annie Power 1/6

Willie Mullins’ Cheltenham bound star Annie Power is impossible to oppose here and that is reflected in what will likely be prohibitive odds.

The unbeaten six-year-old was at her very best when registering a ninth consecutive victory at Prestbury Park on New Year’s Day, slamming the useful yard stick Zarkander for the second race running.

If the unthinkable does happen then John Quinn could be rewarded for running his likeable course-and-distance winner Cockney Sparrow.

14:25 Cheltenham – Rocky Creek 5/4

Paul Nicholls is now odds-on to win an eighth trainer’s championship and Rocky Creek looks poised to contribute to another profitable Saturday for the Ditcheat handler.

Finishing runner-up on his re-appearance in the Hennessy sets an excellent standard and despite the field containing plenty of talent each one of his rivals has more question marks by their side than the selection.

Restless Harry is an interesting runner, being the only contender with winning form over both course and distance, and the popular ten-year-old showed he is still in love with the game after routing the opposition at Newbury latest.

14:40 Doncaster – Walk On Al 20/1

The majority of the field arrive following a victory but a chance is taken on one of the less impressive victors, Walk On Al, to record successive wins for Dan Skelton’s up-and-coming yard.

The six-year-old only beat an ordinary field by a few lengths at Southwell in December but his handler has shown often enough in his young career the ability to extract further improvement where there seems none to be had and at the prices he appeals.

As mentioned there are few trainers in as good as form as Hobbs and his hat-trick chasing hope Sausalito Sunrise has to be respected.

15:00 Cheltenham – Rathvinden 7/4

Three of the last four favourites David Pipe has sent into battle have crossed the line in front before today and the master of Pond House will be confident of adding another short-priced winner to his recent collection courtesy of the unbeaten Red Sherlock.

A winner here on his third start, the son of Shirocco has been largely untroubled in any of his five starts and looks difficult to oppose.

However, preference is for Irish raider Rathvinden to make amends for falling three out when sent off favourite and in contention at Warwick on his last start.

Whenever Willie Mullins sends any runners over they need serious consideration and he could just be the class horse in the race.

15:15 Doncaster – Gullinbursti

Emma Levelle has enjoyed a couple of winners from not many runners in the last fortnight and a big prize could be heading back to Hatherden on the back of Gullinbursti.

Noel Fehily’s partner showed lots of ability when slamming his rivals by 27 lengths on his first outing of the season at Market Rasen back in November and has performed creditably when upped in class for his next two runs.

The field does not lack competitiveness, however, with Nicholls’ Unioniste one of many with legitimate claims.

15:35 Cheltenham – Reve De Sivola 11/4

The long-awaited return of Big Bucks is undoubtedly the highlight of the day’s racing and it will be fascinating to see how the record-breaking hurdler fares after 420 days off the track.

There is no question whatsoever that on his best form the four time World Hurdle winner would dismantle even the talented rivals that he faces on his reappearance, however, there are many questions to be answered and considering the 11-year-old is set to go off at odds-on the advice has to be to look elsewhere.

A return to form of last year’s ultra-impressive Albert Bartlett winner At Fishers Cross would be great to see after two bitterly disappointing efforts this season, while Mullins’ high class Boston Bob has to be respected after making the trip from Closutton.

However, they may all be playing second fiddle to Nick Williams’ star Reve De Sivola who showed all his ability when winning the Long Walk Hurdle last time by ten lengths.

Regardless of the result this is set to be one of the most intriguing contests of the season.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Sam Foster