Generous Ransom can maintain Johnson's record at Newbury

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The weights were announced for the BetVictor Gold Cup yesterday and we cut Tuesday’s Haldon Gold Cup runner up Garde La Victoire for the race from 12s to 10/1 joint favourite given he looked to be crying out for a return to a left-handed track and a step up in trip.

Only 45 declarations for the seven races at Newbury this afternoon on ground officially described as good with no rain forecast.

Point-to-point winner Wade Harper will appreciate stepping up in trip on a left-handed track having been no match for Double W’s at Carlisle on his chase debut and the handicapper has dropped him 3lbs for that satisfactory comeback.

He must go well but Generous Ransom (2.00) has his first start for Philip Hobbs and is 11lbs lower than when finishing third in the listed novices handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival of 2015 behind none other than Saturday’s Charlie Hall Chase winner Irish Cavalier.

Richard Johnson is in the saddle and the champion jockey has a perfect record on the horse winning two handicap hurdles on the flashy chestnut back in 2014. The eight-year-old has been well entered up in recent weeks and it will be interesting to see if Hobbs can rekindle his old enthusiasm.

The Novice Chase is a match between Our Kaempfer (3.10) and Bigbadjohn and the latter is my one of my horses to follow this season although he obviously makes no appeal from a betting perspective this afternoon.

At Market Rasen, Willoughby Court (2.10) was taken out of a race at Chepstow yesterday over the minimum trip and I’m pleased to see connections step the dual bumper winner up to two-and-a-half miles for his hurdles debut. The five-year-old finished fifth in the Aintree bumper on soft ground back in the spring and he is an exciting prospect.

Violet’s Boy is interesting having his second start for Oliver Sherwood following a long absence but his stamina has to be taken on trust. The same can be of last week’s Fakenham winner Mr Burgees (3.20) but he didn’t look to be stopping on that occasion and his jumping was fast and fluent. He was raised 10lbs for that win and is 3lbs ‘well-in’ given he runs here under a 7lbs penalty.

Dr Richard Newland has been quiet of late but I hope his three-year-old Milrow (2.55) can take Musselburgh’s 2m handicap hurdle. Taking conditional jockey Charlie Hammond’s 7lb claim into consideration the juvenile has to carry just 9st 10lbs and looks to be improving over timber.

The handicapper has certainly given Tim Vaughan’s Wings Of Smoke (3.30) a chance and the old boy is 11lbs lower than when scoring at Taunton on heavy ground earlier in the year. The grey has had a couple of ‘sighters’ so far this term and he should have the race run to suit with the consistent front-runner Royal Macnab in the field.

Our Sox (2.20) represent the yard of Irish trainer Tony Martin whose Heartbreak City finished runner up in the Melbourne Cup in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Compensation awaits perhaps although connections of the Ebor winner look to have had a wonderful time down under and won 900,000 Aussie dollars!

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