We’ve teamed up with BetVictor to preview the day’s racing.
Gold Cup winner Sizing John is reported to be in good form ahead of his comeback at Haydock at the weekend although he has drifted out to 5/2 with BetVictor as Bristol De Mai maintains his place at the top of the market at 6/4. In the Stayers’ Hurdle I’m looking forward to seeing the Aintree Grade 1 Novice Hurdle winner The Worlds End make his seasonal reappearance and Tom George’s six-year-old heads the market at 4/1 with BetVictor.
Soft ground for today’s Wincanton card and Action Replay (2.00) can make a winning chase debut for Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson in the valuable limited Novices’ Handicap. The six-year-old certainly has the scope to jump a fence and his second to Harry Fry’s Golden Birthday at Plumpton back in January over timber suggests he is well-treated if adapting to the larger obstacles.
Canelo showed enough on his first start over timber for Alan King to suggest he will win his fair share of races, but Storm Home (2.35) who finished second on his first start for the Colin Tizzard yard here last month over the minimum trip, gave the impression he would improve for a step up in trip. The selection cost £130,000 at Tattersalls Cheltenham Sales 12 months ago having fell at the last on his sole Irish point with the race, seemingly, in the bag.
At Market Rasen, the form of Dans Le Vent’s second at Cheltenham to Slate House last month was franked in no uncertain terms when the winner followed up in a Grade 2 contest at Cheltenham’s November Meeting on Sunday.
The selection is a dual Bumper winner on good ground but has decent form on soft and Jamie Snowdon’s four-year-old must go close.
Arthur’s Gift did us a favour when scoring at Worcester last week and a 7lbs rise may not be enough to prevent him following up given the handicapper has raised him 10lbs for that fluent success. This looks a much stronger race, however, and he is overlooked in favour of top-weight River Frost who made an eye-catching reappearance at Chepstow last month for Alan King.
Acting Lass (1.40) went off odds on but failed to give 6lbs to Finian’s Oscar when the latter was making his British debut at Hereford and that looks very good form in hindsight. This lightly-raced son of King’s Theatre has the scope to jump a fence and gets the vote in the 2m 5f Novices’ Handicap Chase for the inform combination of Harry Fry and Noel Fehily.
Bordeaux Bill fell on his chase debut when well backed and the handicapper has certainly given the horse a chance after he found 2m just too sharp here last month. Officer Houlihan is 10lbs higher than when scoring at Wincanton and is another to consider in a fascinating contest despite the paucity of runners.
The horse I am most looking forward to see run this afternoon is at Thurles where Apache Stronghold (1.00) has his first start since finishing third in Punchestown’s Champion Novice in April 2015 – an absence of 940 days.
The selection has a cracking record when fresh and receives weight from his four rivals who are headed by Bachasson who was improving at the rate of knots last season. The betting may tell us he needs the race but he is still only a nine-year-old and, at his best, he would be too good for today’s field.
At Newcastle Master Singer (2.20) can make it three out of three on an artificial surface for John Gosden in the valuable mile-and-a-half-handicap. The selection is 5lbs higher than when scoring at Wolverhampton last time but he broke his maiden here over two furlongs shorter here back in May and is clearly a better horse on the all-weather than on turf.
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