DAILY RACING DIGEST – FRIDAY

We take a look at some of the top racing stories of the day in our new feature and provide our experts’ racing selections on Friday, March 3, 2017.

cheltenham

Bet4Causes cut The New One to 14/1 for the Champion Hurdle after trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies gave a positive report on the nine-year-old, who will bid to land the race at the fourth time of asking. “It would be wonderful, the highlight of everything if he won and it’s time it happened for him,” the trainer said. “The handicapper tells us he’s always right and if you look at the ratings he should be right there. Himself and Yanworth are the two top-rated ones, and there’s 1lb between them. Cheltenham brings the best out of him and hopefully this is the year when everything falls right for him.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/twiston-davies-this-could-be-the-new-one-s-year/276755
http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49482/nigel-twiston-davies-hopes-fortune-can-favour-the-new-one-in-champion-hurdl

Cheltenham Festival - St Patrick's Thursday


Limini (right) is now 7/1 with Bet4Causes, despite owner Rich Ricci appearing to have cooled on her chances of being supplemented for the  Champion Hurdle on Tuesday week. Ricci said: “Susannah (Ricci’s wife who co-owns Limini) and I have discussed it and if Limini had been originally entered, it would be a different matter, but to be supplementing, you really want to be doing that if you think you have a good chance of winning the race. Do you really want to be doing that and just finishing fourth? I’m going to talk to a few experts and see what they say. It’s a possibility but nothing has been decided.”
Source: https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/rich-ricci:-no-limini-decision/40368

bristol-de-mai


Nigel Twiston-Davies was left disappointed after Bristol De Mai (right) followed up his Peter Marsh Chase win at Haydock with a tame effort in defeat to Native River at Newbury. The trainer is becoming increasingly bullish over the grey’s Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup chance, however. He said: “We thought, ‘Oh dear, he’s not very good’, but we got him back and he was lame for the whole of the next week. He’s come back right now and if he stays sound, he’s very good and I’m very hopeful.”
Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/horseracing/2993900/cheltenham-festival-2017-nigel-twiston-davies-looking-forward-to-running-bristol-de-mai-in-the-cheltenham-gold-cup/


When Golden Jeffrey lines up in the Champion Bumper he will be leading Flat trainer Mark Johnston’s first runner at the Cheltenham Festival for almost 20 years. The four-year-old, owned and bred by Swiss-based Markus Graff, won at Ayr on Monday. Johnston said: “Markus Graff bred Golden Jeffrey and he was quite a backward horse early on. He has a small stud in Switzerland which he is trying to make commercial. There have not been any enquiries yet but, if there were, I am sure the owner would be keen to sell him.”
Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/racing/article-4276396/Mark-Johnston-set-run-Golden-Jeffrey-Cheltenham.html


Nigel Twiston-DaviesSpeaking at his press day ahead of the Cheltenham Festival, Nigel Twiston-Davies (right) confirmed that Ballyandy will run in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. He said: “He has got plenty of speed. He won there this time last year, although it was over two miles with no hurdles. We are really looking forward to it and hopefully we will be able to take our revenge on Moon Racer (who beat him in the Supreme Trial in November).”
Source: http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49488/nigel-twiston-davies-plumps-for-supreme-bid-with-ballyandy
https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/horseracing/2995410/cheltenham-festival-2017-nigel-twiston-davies-updates-us-on-his-cheltenham-festival-team-including-betfair-hurdle-winner-ballyandy/


Eddie Lynam has announced the retirement of popular multiple Group 1-winning sprinter Sole Power. The 10-year-old had his last run when sixth in the Meydan Sprint two weeks ago. Lynam said: “We’ve decided to call it a day with him. He was a great horse, but time waits for no man and he’s been retired.” Sole Power won 12 of his 65 starts, was placed on a further 14 occasions and earned over £2m in prize-money. Lynam added: “He’ll have a few months at home to chill and then he’ll head over to Horse Park Stud, where a lot of our retired horses go. Putting him on the horsebox that one last time, that will be the saddest day.”
Source: http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49477/eddie-lynam-calls-time-on-decorated-career-of-sole-power
https://beta.racingpost.com/news/news/five-time-group-1-winner-sole-power-retired/276726


Jockey George Baker remains in intensive care following his horror fall on the ice of St Moritz on Sunday. The Classic-winning rider suffered a severe concussion and was airlifted to a trauma hospital in Chur. His agent Guy Jewell said: “There’s nothing new to report, really. He’s still in intensive care and is much the same as he was a couple of days ago. He’s still resting and sleeping a lot.”
Source: http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49483/george-baker-continuing-recovery-in-intensive-care-after-st-moritz-fall


Venetia WilliamsAidan Coleman recorded his second successive century of winners when guiding Marcilhac to victory in the Forbra Gold Cup at Ludlow for Venetia Williams (tight) – one of a quartet of winners on the day for the Herefordshire trainer. Coleman notched 129 winners last season and he said: “The goal at the start of year was to get somewhere near 100 winners, to get that and hopefully add to it would be great.”
Source: https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/coleman-reaches-100-winners/40300
http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49491/ton-up-for-aidan-coleman-at-ludlow


David PipeDavid Pipe (right)is still mulling over a possible Champion Hurdle tilt with Moon Racer. The eight-year-old, not seen since making it two from two over hurdles at the Open Meeting at Cheltenham in November, also holds an entry in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Pipe said: “He’s proved on the track that he’s a very good horse and we thought at the time that it was worth entering him in the Champion Hurdle. He’ll be left in that and the Supreme at the five-day stage and we’ll make a decision after that.”
Source: https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/late-call-on-moon-racer-target/40160


Winner of a Grade 3 handicap at Cheltenham last time, Foxtail Hill has been earmarked by Nigel Twiston-Davies as his ace in the Cheltenham Festival pack. He runs in the Close Brothers’ Handicap Chase and the trainer said: “I think Foxtail Hill is probably our best chance. It is just the way the race turns out, as there is only three or four pounds between the lot of them. He is nearly a JLT horse, but why go for that when you have got a lower-class race? He was very impressive there last time and he managed to stay inside the rating band of 0-140.”
Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/horseracing/2995410/cheltenham-festival-2017-nigel-twiston-davies-updates-us-on-his-cheltenham-festival-team-including-betfair-hurdle-winner-ballyandy/


London trainer Andrew Reid has not renewed his licence after sending out one winner from 39 runners last season. The gallop at his Mill Hill yard needs to be replaced and he explained: “Being on London clay, we weren’t going to do that until the summer. I had never had injuries, but I was starting to get them, and the only explanation was the gallop. I sold a lot of horses and wouldn’t think I’ll have runners this year, but it depends on when we can start work on the gallop.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/news/lawyer-reid-calls-time-on-training-career-with-no-runners-this-year/276780

Today’s MCB British Racing selections – Friday, March 3, 2017

DONCASTER: 1.50 Generous Day, 2.20 Wenyerreadyfreddie, 2.50 Tiquer, 3.25 Taweyla (nb), 4.00 Copper Kay, 4.30 Apterix, 5.05 The Wise One

LINGFIELD: 2.00 Remember Me, 2.30 HAVELOCK (NAP), 3.05 Black Dave, 3.40 Intransigent, 4.10 Mullarkey, 4.45 Ulysses

NEWBURY: 2.10 Alcanar, 2.40 Le Breuil, 3.15 Red Devil Star, 3.50 Millanisi Boy, 4.20 Reilly’s Minor, 4.55 Bally Gilbert, 5.25 Athgate Rosalie

NEWCASTLE: 5.15 Persun, 5.45 Fiendish, 6.15 Poet’s Reward, 6.45 Bastia, 7.15 Kinloch Pride, 7.45 Mr Andros

Bet via Bet4Causes, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood and World Horse Welfare.

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly http://www.gambleaware.co.uk

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YOUR DAILY RACING DIGEST –MONDAY

We take a look at some of the top racing stories of the day in our new feature and provide our experts’ racing selections on Monday, February 27, 2017.

Ascot Races

Barry Geraghty (above) will miss the Cheltenham Festival following injuries sustained in a fall from Charli Parcs at Kempton on Saturday. Geraghty said: “I’ve a collapsed lung and six broken ribs on my right side. I’m obviously devastated to miss the Festival – there were so many good horses to look forward to as JP’s (McManus) team all look in particularly good shape this year. Last night was pretty rough. I’ve broken ribs individually before but never had six go all at the same time. I’ll be in hospital for a few more days but once the lung improves my recovery should be straightforward and I expect to be back for Aintree.”
Source: http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/26/barry-geraghty-to-miss-cheltenham-after-kempton-spill
https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/geraghty-out-of-cheltenham/38566


Jockey George Baker woke from an induced coma in intensive care last night after suffering a first-race horror fall in the famous St Moritz snow track in Switzerland. He was riding Boomerang Bob for Jamie Osborne when they fell on a patch of ice and Baker was knocked unconscious. He was flown to a trauma hospital in Chur. Baker’s agent Guy Jewell said: “George has woken up, and with the hospital releasing that news I can only imagine they are pleased with his progress. He’d already had a CT scan and that has come back clear. They will obviously need to check that everything is working properly and his wife is on her way out there.” The rest of the meeting was abandoned.
Source: http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/26/george-baker-awake-in-hospital-after-horror-fall-in-switzerland
http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49400/george-baker-airlifted-to-hospital-after-fall-at-st-moritz
https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/baker-‘awake-in-hospital’/38559


Gary Moore has concerns about the  Stayers Hurdle trip for runaway National Spirit Hurdle winner Camping Ground, who led is rivals a merry dance on his stable debut at Fontwell yesterday. Moore said: “We’ve treated him like a good horse. A lot of effort has gone into him, believe me, from the staff at home. I know the owner is pretty keen to go for the Stayers’ Hurdle. I think two and a half (miles) is his trip. He has got a very high cruising speed and he galloped them into the ground. I think three miles would be pushing it in my opinion.” Camping Ground was cut to 20/1 (from 50/1) by Bet4Causes for the Grade 1 feature at Cheltenham on March 16.
Source: http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49408/camping-ground-leads-national-spirit-field-a-merry-dance-at-fontwell
https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/camping-pitches-up-in-style/38520

Ascot Races


Cue Card (right) has displaced stablemate Native River at the head of the market for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, with Bet4Causes going 11/4 (from 7/2), after reporting a string of bets on the Colin Tizzard-trained 11-year-old over the weekend. Native River was weak in the market, forcing Tizzard to issue a report on his wellbeing. He said: “He’s lovely and did a proper bit of work today (Saturday). I couldn’t be any more pleased with him. It’s the same with Cue Card.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/market-turning-in-favour-of-cue-card-as-he-displaces-river/276221


Giggingstown House Stud, owners of the Gordon Elliott-trained Tombstone, have decided to supplement the Gowran Park Red Mills Hurdle winner for the  Champion Hurdle. Elliott said: “It looks an open race this year so we have decided to supplement Tombstone for the Champion Hurdle. He has come out of the Red Mills race in great shape so we are happy to take our chances. Obviously he needs to improve but he hasn’t got many miles on the clock and the turnaround in form with Jezki was very encouraging.” Tombstone is currently 12/1 with Bet4Causes, with Buveur D’Air favourite at 11/4. Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/tombstone-to-be-supplemented-for-champion-hurdle/276313
http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/26/tombstone-to-be-supplemented-for-champion-hurdle
http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49406/tombstone-to-be-supplemented-for-champion-hurdle

Michael Scudamore Stable Visit


Trainer Michael Scudamore (right) gained two big staying prizes in two days after Mysteree took the Eider Chase at Newcastle on Saturday, following up success with Kingswell Theatre in the Devon National at Exeter on Friday. Scudamore is eying a third National and explained: “The Midlands National will be too soon for Mysteree, he is a horse who is best when fresh, but we will give him an entry in the Scottish National at Ayr in case it is soft there.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/saturday-reports/mysteree-stays-on-strongest-for-in-form-scudamore/276172


Colin Tizzard will have Thistlecrack’s tendon injury scanned tomorrow “not to make sure we got it right, but to please ourselves”. The ante-post Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite and King George VI Chase hero has been ruled out for the rest of the season. After saddling his 50th winner of the season at Fontwell yesterday, Tizzard said: “There was a little tear there but there’s no heat and no swelling. It’s not like he’s walking around with his leg in a bandage. It’s not very much.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/news/tizzard-to-scan-thistlecrack-tendon-again-to-assess-damage/276319

Chelmsford Races


Sir Michael Stoute (right) gained his first winner of the year when Convey swooped late to land the Group 3  Winter Derby at Lingfield on Saturday, booking his place for All-Weather Finals Day on Good Friday. Ante-post favourite Mutakayyef missed the 1m2f contest due to a foot abscess. Winning jockey Andrea Atzeni said: “Convey did it quite well. Obviously, it was his first time over this trip – I wasn’t sure that he would get it but Sir Michael was pretty positive and thought he would stay. It worked out perfectly from a bad draw. He was always doing enough to win his race and saw the trip out really well.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/saturday-reports/atzeni-strikes-late-on-coney-to-land-lingfield-thriller/276171


Following her win over Apple’s Jade at Punchestown, Limini could be supplemented for the Champion Hurdle, according to her owner Rich Ricci. He said: “The Champion Hurdle has to be discussed. We were successful last year with it (with Annie Power). It’s a wide open Champion Hurdle. If you fancy Buveur D’Air you probably have to really think about running. She is much bigger and stronger. It will be a last minute thing. We’ll have to see how she works and what she is working against. We’ll make that call after that work.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/ricci-champion-hurdle-option-has-to-be-discussed-for-mare-limini/276176


The BHA has rescheduled the Listed Lady Protectress Chase at Huntingdon for Sunday, following the abandonment of the card last Thursday because of high winds. There will now be an eight-race card and entries for the £30,000 event close at noon today.
Source: http://www.britishhorseracing.com/news-media/press-releases/

Aintree Races


Paul Nicholls has snapped up Katie Walsh (right) for the plum ride on Wonderful Charm for the Cheltenham Foxhunter Chase. Nicholls said: “With Will [Biddick] unavailable for Wonderful Charm we were keen to secure a top amateur and Katie Walsh certainly fits the bill. We enjoyed no end of success at Cheltenham with Ruby Walsh and I am hoping his sister Katie can provide a bit more on Wonderful Charm.” Wonderful Charm is the current 4/1 second favourite to On The Fringe with BetVictor.
Source: https://betting.betfair.com/horse-racing/paul-nicholls/paul-nicholls-cheltenham-festival-news-wonderful-charm-fri-17-march-2017-240217-9.html


The planned semi-finals of the greyhounds Gold Cup, which were to be transferred from Shelbourne Park to Towcester were called off after a row over the distance of the races, with trainer Paul Hennessy allegedly refusing to run his dogs unless the trip was 500m. Organiser Dolores Ruth said: “The Gold Cup was a 480m/525 yard event and everyone was committed to run over 480 metres. We were already down to 11 runners (Burgess Popeye broke a hock in a trial) and it simply wasn’t feasible for the sponsors for only nine dogs to take part.”
Source: http://greyhoundstar.co.uk/trainers-sign-gold-cup-semis-towcester/

Today’s MCB British Racing selections – Monday, February 27, 2017

PLUMPTON: 2.00 Cigarisi, 2.35 Bagging Turf (nb), 3.05 Premier Rose, 3.35 Dragoon Guard, 4.05 Coolking, 4.35 Simply Blessed

WOLVERHAMPTON: 2.20 King Oswald, 2.55 Archie Stevens, 3.25 Jashma, 3.55 Fast Track, 4.25 Ravens Quest, 4.55 Atkinson Grimshaw, 5.25 Celerity

AYR: 2.10 Well Joey, 2.45 Antiopia, 3.15 Las Tunas, 3.45 Nakadam, 4.15 Chidswell, 4.45 Ryedale Racer, 5.15 GOLDEN JEFFREY (NAP)

Bet via Bet4Causes, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood and World Horse Welfare.

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly http://www.gambleaware.co.uk

Cheltenham Festival 2016 – Day One: Tuesday’s top tips

It is the greatest racing Festival around and each day Bet4Causes will provide you with some fabulous special offers for Cheltenham over the next four days.

For instance, today’s offers include:

Faller at the Last Cash Back

Beaten by less than a length Cash Back

Pay-out on FIVE places in the Ultima Handicap Chase (2.50)

There are many more, so take a look at the comprehensive Cheltenham Specials markets and check out the value.

Not only does Bet4Causes come complete with an extensive suite of horseracing marketswe try to provide a few winners as well!

Each day we will be providing you with a preview of the day’s racing, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day.

Stands-Chhh1 (1).jpg

CHELTENHAM 2016 – DAY ONE PREVIEW

1.30 SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE

Willie Mullins saddles three runners as he bids to win the Grade 1 event for the fourth successive year and the trio is headed by Min, who has won both his starts this season in convincing fashion on soft and heavy ground at Punchestown. The drying ground is sure to help, but while he boasts star quality and is very fluent over his hurdles, the main concern is that he has been keen in his races and has not been battle-tested like some of his rivals.

Buveur D’Air, who was a decent sort in bumpers last term and the form of his seasonal debut at Newbury in November has worked out well, with the second, third, fourth and fifth all subsequently winning decent novice events.

Supasundae will need to show improvement in his jumping after being quite tardy early on when wining a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas. If he has improved that aspect, Henry De Bromhead’s runner may well prove the value, as he ran a stormer in last season’s Champion Bumper, leading until the final furlong.

He beat Silver Concorde by 13 lengths in that contest, but it was in heavy ground and Dermot Weld’s strong traveller may well turn the tables should the ground dry out further. Neither have been seen out since, but both should benefit from the break.

We side, however, with ALTIOR. Like Buveur D’Air, he is trained by Nicky Henderson and while he finished behind both Bellshill and Carbel in last season’s Champion Bumper, the selection has won four times over hurdles, including a Grade 2 here. He pulled hard that day, but was much less fizzy when winning well at Kempton, showing a remarkable turn of foot. That race has also worked out very well.

WINNER: ALTIOR

EACH-WAY: SUPASUNDAE

2.10 ARKLE CHALLENGE TROPHY

DOUVAN looks the obvious choice. Last year’s Supreme Novices’ winner is unbeaten in his seven starts for Willie Mullins, including when strolling to two Grade 1 novice chases at Leopardstown on Boxing Day and a month later, winning by 15 and 18-lengths respectively, easily accounting for Sizing John in the latter. His jumping looks assured and his rivals, do not look able to cut the mustard in comparison.

Vaniteux, who was last in the 2015 Champion Hurdle, looked impressive on his chasing debut at Kempton, but has a tendency to make the odd costly jumping error, while The Game Changer, who has won six of his eight chase starts, come into this after a break of five months, following a wind operation.

Minor honours are perhaps the best he can hope for, along with Baltimore Rock, the former Imperial Cup winner, who is not without hope if replicating his Doncaster novice handicap chasing debut in late December.

WINNER: DOUVAN

EACH-WAY: BALTIMORE ROCK

Fox Appeal
Fox Appeal: Place claims in the Ultima

 

2.50 ULTIMA HANDICAP CHASE

Novices have a decent record in this 3m1f event, and impressive Sandown scorer Beg To Differ and Out Sam, who showed plenty of class when scoring at Newbury last time, both look potentially well handicapped. The latter was particularly fluent and travelled well in soft ground. He looked capable of running the in the RSA Chase, but his trainer, who feels he will be better on quicker ground, has opted for the softer Grade 3.

Fox Appeal ran better than his form suggested at Kempton two weeks ago, and while hard as nails, he does have the tendency to put in the odd error. He is capable on his day and is a bigger price than he should be.

The Kempton winner, Theatre Guide, dead-heated with Fox Appeal in a Graduation chase 18 months ago at Kempton off level weights and has since finished second in the Hennessy Gold Cup. Fox Appeal was giving Theatre Guide 11lb, so the handicapper is clearly taking no chances with the former.

Holywell, who win this in 2014 before finishing fourth in last year’s Gold Cup, has not been in nearly such sparkling form this term, while the handicapper may just have the measure of Carole’s Destrier after winning three of his last five. His trainer, Neil Mulholland, won this last year, the progressive 8yo will not mind dropping back in trip. There is plenty to recommend him.

However, the verdict goes to KRUZHLININ, a solid jumper who scored decisively on his stable debut at Kempton in soft ground, his first start following an 11-month break. Though up 10lb for that, he may get his own way in front and may take some stopping.

WINNER: KRUZHLININ

EACH-WAY: CAROLE’S DESTRIER

Stands-Cheltenham1 (1).jpg

3.30 CHAMPION HURDLE

This lacks the star power of Faugheen and looks a below-standard renewal of the two-mile championship. Annie Power is arguably the best horse in the race and is head and shoulders above her sex, but two years after first being touted for this race, connections have finally decided the time is now.

She gets a 7lb allowance and that may help offset the fact that she may not have the pace to mix it over 2m, having run over 3m of the World Hurdle in 2014. She infamously fell at the last in the Mares’ Hurdle when clear last year.

Stablemate Nichols Canyon, aiming to give the Willie Mullins team its fourth Champion Hurdle win in six years, was third in the Neptune Investment last year. He downed the progressive Fighting Fifth hero Identity Thief in Ryanair over Christmas, before running below-par in the Irish Champion Hurdle when thrashed 28-lengths by Faugheen. He had excuses that day and may make a bold bid from the front.

My Tent Or Yours has been absent since April 2014 and it will be a remarkable raining feat should Nicky Henderson’s runner replicate anything like his narrow Champion Hurdle defeat by Jezki on his penultimate start.

Ex-French Camping Ground beat Lil Rockerfeller over 2m4f in tremendous style here before failing to see out 3m in January. The drying ground and the fact that he drops back in trip are both reasons for passing him over on this occasion, although he holds place claims.

THE NEW ONE (NAP) has been a little unlucky. He was hampered when third in this race in 2014, was reportedly suffering from a back problem after his fifth last year, and had a corn when beaten seven lengths by Faugheen in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

However, on his day, he is among the best in the division. Given Nigel Twiston-Davies’s good form, The New One may be able to finally win the big one.

WINNER: THE NEW ONE

EACH-WAY: MY TENT OR YOURS

Kempton Park Races - William Hill Winter Festival - Day One
Willie Mullins: Has owned the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle

4.10 THE DAVID NICHOLSON MARES’ HURDLE

Polly Peachum is set to end her career after this race, in which she was second in last year following an interrupted preparation. She handled heavy ground well at Sandown in early January, beating The Govaness by a head on only her second start in nine months.

The latter-named, along with Rons Dream, Desert Queen and Aurore D’Estruval, were all behind VROUM VROUM MAG (NB) at Ascot in January, and she will aim to give the Willie Mullins stable its eighth win in the race since the inaugural running in 2008.

The selection is a very short price for what she has achieved – she has won six over fences before landing the odds with ease on her two recent hurdling efforts – but sets a fine standard. Gary Moore has always thought plenty of Flute Bowl, and she is capable on her day.

Bitofapuzzle was second in this last year as a novice and reverts to hurdles after being pulled up over fences last time. Confidence may be low, but she appears to relish this track and is a fair each-way price if the fire is rekindled.

WINNER: VROUM VROUM MAG

EACH-WAY: BITOFAPUZZLE

4.50 NATIONAL HUNT CHASE CHALLENGE CUP (AMATEUR RIDERS’ NOVICES’ CHASE)

The last five winners of this Listed marathon chase had single-figure starting prices. If that trend hold firm, those to concentrate upon are Minella Rocco, Native River, Noble Endeavour, Pont Alexandre and Southfield Royale.

Noble Endeavour was beaten five lengths by Measureofmydreams in a Grade 2 at Navan last month, with Pleasant Company third, but over a much longer trip, the former should turn the tables.

Minella Rocco hails from the Jonjo O’Neill yard that won this four times between 2002 and 2007, and was beaten narrowly by Vyta Du Roc in a Grade 2 over 3m at Ascot, which means he sets the standard.

Native River won a Newbury Grade 2 in November but did not look to be putting it all in at Wetherby last time and cheekpieces might have a galvanising effect.

PONT ALEXANDRE was well backed for the Neptune in 2013 when third to The New One, but suffered a leg and was not seen again until producing a stunning display to win on his chasing debut at Punchestown in early December. The slight negative in his two subsequent runs in heavy ground was his keenness. He did not quite see out 3m at Naas although was far from disgraced at Leopardstown over 2m5½f in Grade 1 company last month. If he handles the preliminaries, he may well be the one to beat.

Southfield Royale is ultra-consistent, winning five of his 10 starts and finishing second in four. Neil Mulholland wasted no time in booking Nina Carberry for the plum ride and his good second in a Grade 1 at Kempton over Christmas means he has leading claims.

WINNER: PONT ALEXANDRE

EACH-WAY: SOUTHFIELD ROYALE

Stands-Cheltt1 (1)

5.30 CLOSE BROTHERS NOVICES’ HANDICAP CHASE

A tight-knit handicap where 20 runners are within just 4lb of each other. ALOOMOMO has looked a blot on the handicap over fences, having won easily in three handicaps this winter. He sluiced in at Newbury in November and while he has gone up 11lb, there looked to be plenty more to come from the Warren Greatrex inmate.

A big, strong, laid-back individual and a good traveller, Javert has risen 9lb following a decisive win at Doncaster, when accounting for Fairy Rath by 12 lengths. That form is solid as the runner-up has scored since and his stable had a winner at Sandown on Saturday.

Killala Quay beat Twelve Roses in the Grade 2 Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton over Christmas and the latter may reverse the form on this better ground. The former’s optimum trip may be 3m in time, but both hold place claims at decent prices.

Willow’s Saviour, rated 138 over hurdles, opened his account over fences at Warwick on his debut after 23 months on the sidelines and was fourth in a Grade 1 at Sandown before scoring in a two-runner affair at Fakenham. He can jump spectacularly and is in the masterful hands of Dan Skelton, a future champion trainer.

In his third start over fences, Double Shuffle won at Ludlow on his handicap chasing debut under top weight in December, having previously run twice with credit here in decent novice chases. Further improvement can be expected, even though he lacks the experience of some.

WINNER: ALOOMOMO

EACH-WAY: TWELVE ROSES

OTHER MEETINGS:

SEDGEFIELD: 1.15 Superfection, 1.45 Fiddler’s Flight, 2.25 Lawless Island, 3.05 Away For Slates, 3.45 Generous Pet, 4.25 Pamak D’airy, 5.00 Tara Time

SOUTHWELL: 1.55 Phantom Flipper, 2.35 Tasaaboq, 3.15 Imjin River, 3.55 Sir Billy Wright, 4.35 Response, 5.10 Edgar, 5.40 Henry Smith

WOLVERHAMPTON: 6.05 City Of Angkor Wat, 6.40 Kodiac Lady, 7.10 Jammy Guest, 7.40 Dor’s Law, 8.10 Medieval Bishop, 8.40 Cool Crescendo, 9.10 Ashford Island

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