Horse racing: Do It For Dalkey – and the rest of us, please!

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NO surprises following the final declarations for tomorrow’s big feature the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham with Mon Parrain and Wishfull Thinking very much the two main protagonists (2.35pm).

The final decs for Wetherby we will unfortunately have to do without, but it seems fairly certain Do It For Dalkey will turn up in the 1.45pm and if so he’d rate a confident nap of the day.

From a journalist’s point of view, the sooner we get 48-hour National Hunt declarations the better as it’s an almost impossible task trying to preview a local meeting otherwise.

And while most trainers are obviously against the principal of declaring in advance as so much can change, from a printing and punter’s point of view it is something of a must.

It is no secret that most evening titles now print the night before – it’s not just us – and at present these almost useless five-day dec stage cards are the best it gets.

Very unhelpful though Florafern would look interesting if taking up her 1.10pm engagement – Oliver Sherwood’s mare going like a winner at Lingfield on Tuesday before tipping up two out.

She will take the beating if none the worse and running in either that race or the novices hurdle for which she is entered at 4pm, but Do It For Dalkey will likely be the banker bet of the card – if going to post for the 1.45pm.

He surely will run as the handicapper is going to wallop Lucinda Russell’s horse for winning by 12 lengths at Carlisle on Monday so off only a 7lbs penalty connections will likely be forced to have a go here as the late-maturing nine-year-old bids to record a quickfire hat-trick.

There would be the obvious question mark of the demands of two runs in six days but Do It For Dalkey won in effortless style the other day and will hardly know he has had a race.

Operation

Russell’s charge has clearly turned a major corner since having a wind operation last season and he looks by far the likeliest winner if running at Wetherby – apprentice jockey Grant Cockburn booked for the ride which will be helpful with his 10lbs claim.

Rover Dragon could also be interesting at Wetherby tomorrow if running in the 2.25pm which looks likely as the horse’s only upcoming entry. He is a course winner open to more improvement as a six-year-old and Tony Coyle’s animal is also guaranteed to be fit having won recently on the flat. The rest of the Wetherby card is at this range difficult to call but the runners at Lingfield are there in all their glory with William Buick again likely to be the man to follow on board Asatir (1.40pm) and Hunter’s Light (2.15pm) – both for Godolphin.

Buick has been cleaning up on the all-weather this week and both of these two have fine chances tomorrow – Asatir a 260,000-dollar purchase who won well when last seen and Hunter’s Light the top-rated horse in his contest.

The day’s classiest fare is of course at Cheltenham where Hinterland will be all the rage for Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh in the first (1.20pm) – the duo then hoping to win the Paddy Power with Mon Parrain, 95 minutes later.

He could be seriously well-handicapped but at double the odds Wishfull Thinking has the solid form in the book and carries the cash from our Thursday Horses For Courses column. Best of luck.

Vieux Lion Rouge ridden by Tom Scudamore. PIC: PA

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