Monday racing tips: Andy Ayres picks out his best bet for today's racing while updating us on all the latest gossip from a weekend at Ascot and Newcastle

Nicky Henderson’s Santini has always looked an A-lister in the making and leapt to the top of the billboard with a near flawless chasing debut on his home track.

You’d travel a long way to see a better looking horse than this bad boy and he won with plenty in hand despite needing another couple of weeks down the gym to hit peak fitness.

A visit to Kempton over Christmas is favourite for Santini’s next jaunt and he could just be a Cheltenham banker in the making.

Only marginally less impressive was Hendo’s Champ, who spent more time pulling than a group of teenagers in Benidorm before winning a hot 2m4f handicap hurdle on this card.

He races in the green and gold of J P McManus and is named after jump racing’s patron saint, Sir Anthony McCoy. If ever a young horse could tempt the great man to hang-up his microphone for a quick spin round the track it’s this fella and he must be followed.

Champ is expected back at Newbury for the Challow Hurdle in late December, where he could butt heads with Tom Lacey’s Kateson (2-1 to 5-4), who landed some lumpy bets when winning at Newbury on Friday.

Lacey‘s been flying this season but was dragged off cloud nine after his Thomas Patrick flopped behind Sizing Tennessee when jolly for the £250,000 Ladbroke Trophy.

Monday Magic

ESCORT’NAMIX (3.30 Plumpton) 'Mare gets a handy sex allowance, comes from a yard in blistering form and is proven on the sort of testing ground she’ll face today'

Let’s be honest, this was a weak renewal of one of jump racing’s gems and it’s down to the track’s executive to ensure a bigger and better turnout next time around.

Best bet horse on Saturday was Paul Nicholls’ Posh Trish (9-4 to 11-8), who was given a lovely front-running ride by Harry Cobden to nab a novice hurdle.

I’m told the walking volcano from Ditcheat was blowing more steam than the Flying Scotsman when this one was beaten last time, so those close to the mare must have breathed easier when she collected.

There were fortunes for Samcro (7-4 to 6-5) in the Fighting Fifth up at Newcastle, but he looked slower than molasses behind Buveur D’Air who had time to take the last flight home with him before winning by clear water.

Nicky Henderson will be expecting something similar from Altior in the Tingle Creek at Sandown this weekend, but I’ve heard Harry Whittington is hoping to make life uncomfortable for the reigning champ with his rising star Saint Calvados.

He’s already scalped Irish ace Footpad and, according to a pal of mine who watched the horse work on Saturday morning, is primed for another spot of giant-killing.

Most popular winner of the weekend was Unowhatimeanharry, who did a Cher and turned back time to bag a decent prize at Newbury on Friday.

The old boy has been in more scraps than an East End docker but refuses to lay down and is a horse all Billy Bunters love.

Amy Murphy’s top-gun Kalashnikov is the star turn at Plumpton today, but best bet on the card could be Warren Greatrex’s ESCORT’NAMIX in the bumper (3.30).

This mare gets a handy sex allowance, comes from a yard in blistering form and is proven on the sort of testing ground she’ll face today.

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