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Blaklion to roar on a day where there will be Festival clues aplenty

| 23.01.2015

It’s Festival Trials Day at Prestbury Park, and we have trial races for the Albert Bartlett and Mares’ Hurdle at Doncaster. It can only mean that the Cheltenham extravaganza is fast creeping up on us.

A number of equine athletes that will be looking to topple the rest at the Festival will be out this weekend, and here at Ladbrokes News we want to try and pin-point those winners for you.

If you can find a winner yourself for any of the Channel 4 races, remember if it is 4/1 or bigger, you will get a Free Bet of up to £25!*

We discussed a handful of the contests from both Cheltenham and on Town Moor in the latest Ladbrokes podcast, that you can find below…

Hopefully those words of wisdom stand you in good stead to pick out a victor or two, but if you’re still stuck, here are our trio picked to do the business on Saturday.

NAP – Blaklion – Doncaster 14:40

Even without likely market rival Present View probably heading to Cheltenham, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge looks to be a stand-out pick for the River Don Novices’ Hurdle.

Twice beaten by Parlour Games over 2m5f (though there’s no shame in that), a step up back to the trip he thrived over on his penultimate run looks just the ticket for the Kayf Tara gelding.

That race, another Albert Bartlett trial saw Ryan Hatch keep him well up to his work as he pulled away to run out a very nice 11l winner.

Likely challenge will come from Caracci Apache who is unbeaten over obstacles, though he has yet to race over 3m, and being by High Chaparral, it is unclear as to whether he will stay this trip.

But with high class form already in the book, and a number of good runs on soft ground, we simply have to side with the favourite.

NB – Princess Leya – Doncaster 14:05

Likely to be a Mullins vs Mullins battle at the top of the market, and indeed in the race, as Willie Mullins’ Aniflet takes on Margaret Mullins’ Princess Leya.

The latter was a good third in a Leopardstown Grade 3 over Christmas, a race that saw her Gigginstown-owned rival depart at the second last, though they both travelled as well as each other.

Aniflet hasn’t shown she is back to her best since returning from a near fatal injury in November, finishing last in her only other run back and with the form of Princess Leya’s previous win working out well, she gets the nod.

A wide-margin winner of a Fairyhouse handicap off a mark of 115, her form was franked when both the second and third placed horses ran out comprehensive winners on their subsequent starts.

The pair are a mile clear of the other five on ratings, so expect an Irish shootout on Town Moor.

Lively Longshot – Little Jon – Cheltenham 14:25

His last two visits to Prestbury Park may not have been the most successful ones, falling when leading last time out after crashing through the wings of the fourth-last before that.

However, his form before that looks strong. He beat the highly regarded Solar Impulse on chasing debut and followed that up by finishing 1 1/2l behind 20/1 Arkle chance Vibrato Valtat in third here over the minimum distance.

He was a runner up over hurdles at Stratford over 2m4½f so hopefully he should stay the trip OK.

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

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.