Saturday ITV Racing Tips: Best bets for Cheltenham and Doncaster

It's finally warming up a touch and the ITV cameras will be able to serve up some top racing action on Saturday, January 28. The Planet Sport tipsters have red-hot selections for the eight races.

The delayed Clarence House Chase has been moved to Cheltenham after the frost, and that exciting Grade 1 clash heads up a day that includes four Grade 2 contests.

To start let's run through a quick list of our selections for Saturday's races, you can find some more detail on each horse further down the page.

Don't forget to check out the racecards, results and live odds in the Planet Sport racing live centre.

Selections:

13:20 (Cheltenham) Energumene

13:50 (Cheltenham) Fugitif

14:05 (Doncaster) Epatante

14:25 (Cheltenham) Protektorat

14:40 (Doncaster) Stay Away Fay

15:00 (Cheltenham) Paisley Park

15:15 (Doncaster) Tea For Free

15:35 (Cheltenham) Henri The Second

13:20 (Cheltenham) Energumene

Energumene is backed to lay down a marker for the Festival in March when he takes on the young pretenders in the rearranged Albert Bartlett Clarence House Chase at Cheltenham.

Willie Mullins won this race three years in a row with Un De Sceaux between 2016 and 2018 and Champion Chase hero Energumene can enhance the Closutton handler's record in the Grade One contest as he faces off against Arkle champion Edwardstone and the supplemented Editeur Du Gite, who is sure to keep the favourite honest from the front.

The Tony Bloom-owned nine-year-old was second to Shishkin in an all-time classic when this race took place at its usual home Ascot 12 months ago before turning the tables on that rival in the rematch in the Champion Chase.

The rerouting of this race to Prestbury Park can only be of benefit to this relentless galloper, who looked as good as ever on his return at Cork last month and he could leave some Champion Chase hopefuls rethinking their options by the time he crosses the line.

13:50 (Cheltenham) Fugitif

It was difficult not to be taken by the way Fugitif dispatched his rivals at Chepstow over Christmas and going on the form of his previous effort here over two miles, the track should hold no fears as he looks to defy a further 10lb hike.

Your Darling should be suited by going back in trip having not seen it out over further at Kempton, while Karl Philippe continues to improve.

Course specialist Coole Cody, Il Ridoto and Phoenix Way complete the shortlist.

14:05 (Doncaster) Epatante

Epatante appears to have been found the perfect opportunity to get on the scoresheet in the Sky Bet Yorkshire Rose Mares' Hurdle at Doncaster.

The former Champion Hurdle winner has had to contend with her exceptional stablemate Constitution Hill the last twice, but she is well clear of her rivals on official figures, still rates as one of the best two-mile hurdlers in the country and can showcase her dominance in this Grade Two event.

14:25 (Cheltenham) Protektorat

The chief support on Festival Trials Day is the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase and Protektorat can cement his place as a bonafide Gold Cup contender in a red-hot renewal.

Albeit well beaten, Dan Skelton's eight-year-old was the best of the Brits when finishing third in the blue riband last year and he looks the home team's best chance of wrestling the trophy back from the Irish raiders in just under seven weeks' time.

He is really maturing into a top-class staying chaser and the emphatic nature of his Betfair Chase victory in November marks him out as the one to beat here.

Although Noble Yeats has looked equally as progressive this term, this was not his original pre-Gold Cup target, while this has been the intended destination for Protektorat ever since crossing the line at Haydock.

Skelton has proven the man to have on side in the big Saturday contests this term and his meticulous planning could pay dividends once again.

14:40 (Doncaster) Stay Away Fay

Stay Away Fay created a big impression when winning impressively on his Rules debut over 2m4f at Newbury in November and this 305,000-pound purchase merits the utmost respect now upped in grade.

John McConnell won this race last year and his Grand Soir should not be underestimated, given that he is a proven stayer and has racked up a hat-trick on his most recent starts.

Others to note are Idalko Bihoue, Twig and Maximilian.

15:00 (Cheltenham) Paisley Park

Paisley Park rolled back the years to land his first Grade 1 success in just over two years in the rearranged Long Walk Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.

The veteran looks to have been found a good opportunity to add to his haul of victories and rates the one to beat.

Gelino Bello switches to the smaller obstacles after falling over fences on the same card and, as a top staying novice over hurdles last season, he is an intriguing rival.

Dashel Drasher finished a good second here on New Year's Day and looks next best.

15:15 (Doncaster) Tea For Free

The Sky Bet Handicap Chase is always an ultra-competitive affair but it is hard to ignore the claims of Tea For Free, who is unbeaten in four over fences.

He is now rated more than 30lb higher than when he notched up his first chase success, but looked as good as ever when scoring at Newbury on New Year's Eve and the galloping nature of this track could allow him to show he is still nowhere near his ceiling.

15:35 (Cheltenham) Henri The Second

A case can be made for most of these, but the vote goes to Henri The Second.

Paul Nicholls' charge was impressive when winning a Grade 2 at Sandown last month and, though he must concede weight all round, the improving six-year-old appears to hold leading claims.

Can You Call landed a significant gamble when winning at Uttoxeter on New Year's Eve and he's considered, along with Pembroke, who bids to make it 3-4 over timber.

Rock My Way bumped into a promising type over course and distance earlier this month and he shouldn't be underestimated either.

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