Tip of the Day: Go to the Altars

Brian Hughes remains in red-hot form and Ben Linfoot is backing one of his rides at Carlisle this afternoon.

Brian Hughes: In fine form this season

Nine Altars – 2.20 Carlisle

Brian Hughes is having a fantastic season. Since October he's ridden 85 winners at a win strike-rate of over 21 per cent and he's second only to Richard Johnson in the jockeys' championship thanks to a season's tally of 105.

Today he rides at Carlisle and Carlisle is a track that's been kind to him this season. He's ridden eight winners at the track at 28 per cent and he has four rides there this afternoon as he bids to improve on those numbers.

The one that interests me is Ann Hamilton's NINE ALTARS in the CFM Chase at 2.20.

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This horse has three chase starts under his belt and he's got better with each run. His latest, at Catterick, was a very good second behind Jonjo O'Neill's A Little Magic who was following up a win at Huntingdon the month before.

Nine Altars lost little in defeat against that improving rival and the pair pulled five lengths clear of the rest. The handicapper put Nine Altars up 4lb, but that might not be enough to stop him going one better this afternoon.

The key could be the stiff track and the ground. Nine Altars performed at his best over hurdles on genuine soft conditions and he gets those for the first time in his fencing career today.

A stiffer two miles looks ideal for him and Hughes should get a nice lead into the race from main market rival Freddies Portrait.

Donald McCain's horse has gone up 4lb for a couple of defeats recently and he could well set things up for the selection today.

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