HORSE RACING: SAD news hit the racing world on Monday with the death of George Ward at the age of 79.

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TOP racing tipster Kevan Minter, known as The Colonel, gives Mercury readers his top tips for the week ahead. Kevan, who lives in Stamford, is trackside most days, is regularly seen on TV and runs his own website www. betwiththe colonel.co.uk

SAD news hit the racing world on Monday with the death of George Ward at the age of 79.

Ward was one of racing’s great owner’s and race sponsors, and in more than 20 years he invested over 25 million pounds into racing. The main courses he supported were Ascot, Aintree, Cheltenham, Goodwood, Epsom and Newmarket and one of the races he sponsored was the Bonussprint King George at Kempton.

l MIKEL Delzangles will bid for further success on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile with Melbourne Cup hero Dunaden in the £100,000 Group Two Qatar Bloodstock Jockey Club Stakes next month.

Run over a mile and a half, the Qatar Bloodstock Jockey Club Stakes attracts some of Europe’s leading older horses and recent names on the roll of honour include multiple Group One winner Shirocco, trained by Andre Fabre, as well as the 2006 St Leger victor Sixties Icon.

Dunaden, who is owned by Pearl Bloodstock, rounded off last year with a narrow victory in the Group One Hong Kong Vase over 12 furlongs in December and Delzangles is happy with how the son of Nicobar has recovered from his exertions.

Meandre, who sprung to prominence with an emphatic length and a half success in the Group One Grand Prix de Paris last July, is also on course for the Qatar Bloodstock Jockey Club Stakes with the Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom Downs a likely objective later in the season.

Ireland’s greatest jumps festival started on Monday at Punchestown with Sizing Europe, the weeks banker winning the £140,000 (Grade 1) Boylesport Champion Chase for Henry de Bromhead.

The Champion Chase hero remains one of the best chasers around and extremely difficult to oppose on his day, this was a great win on bad ground.

Next year’s Gold Cup (6-1) favourite Sir Des Champs was another good thing to win on the card for the punters and remains unbeaten after surviving a dramatic last-fence blunder, Davy Russell gave the 6yo a brillant ride on ground that was not to his liking, the french bred gelding looks a talented horse with a big future.

At Sandown on Saturday the market mover in the Bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase is Le Beau Bai backed from 8-1 to 5-1 with Blue Square this week and gets the vote from me to run a big race for the Richard Lee stable.

The 9yo will relish the testing ground and of his handicap mark of 140 and a winner of 11 of his 36 starts will take all the beating.

It’s hard to get away from Midsummer Sun in the 4.40 at Ripon, Sir Henry Cecil has his team in rude form and a big run is on the cards from the Newmarket trained 4yo at the garden on Saturday.

Visit www.betwiththecolonel.co.uk for the Colonel’s tips.