We’ve teamed up with BetVictor and Charlie McCann to preview the day’s racing.
Catterick stage an excellent card this afternoon and there was plenty of money on track for Intense Tango (12.40) in a decent listed race at Aintree on his hurdles debut for Karl Burke last month and this 70-rated performer on the level should go one better in the opening juvenile hurdle.
Ebony Express won at Catterick on the level back in October and has won his last four starts including two over hurdles for Dr Richard Newland. He is a worthy favourite but, as long as the ground isn’t too soft, he might struggle to give 12lbs to Donald McCain’s Argent Knight (1.10) who shaped well over C&D on his hurdles debut when runner-up to a decent sort from the John Quinn yard.
The grey was at his best when he could hear his hooves rattle on the level but he coped with good to soft well enough when making his debut over timber and can go one better although a significant deterioration in ground conditions would be a negative.
Cody Wyoming (1.40) has been a model of consistency this season finishing first or second in his last five starts and is only 10lbs higher than when scoring at Stratford back in October. I thought he bumped into a well-handicapped animal in Oorayvic over C&D last month but made that winner battle all the way to the line.
Russborough cost connections 42,000 Euros having shaped with promise in his native France and he and Less Time make their chase debuts for leading yards. The market should be informative but Cody Wyoming has the form in the book and could still be ahead of the handicapper.
The Novices’ Hurdle is a top-class race for the track with Buckwheat making his hurdles debut for John Ferguson and Konig Dax (2.10) making his British debut for Donald McCain having cost Paul and Clare Rooney 160,000 Euros back in July.
The latter carries a 5lb penalty for winning a race at Saint-Malmo back in May which is an obvious negative until you find that the runner up, beaten five lengths, was no less than Douvan the 5/1 favourite at BetVictor for the curtain-raiser Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The North Yorkshire Grand National is another terrific contest with top-weight Milborough a danger to all having returned to his best form when scoring at Carlisle back in November. A 5lb rise for that effort looks fair but he will do well to give 23lbs to Barton Gift (2.40) who can reverse Warwick form with Incentivise despite meeting the latter on worse terms taking into account jockey’s allowances. The selection remains unexposed in staying chases and Jamie Moore looks a positive booking at the foot of the weights.
In the bumper, Irish raider Verona Opera (3.40) just lost out to a decent sort at Ayr on debut, pair clear, and can go one better for a yard who have been knocking on the door of late. The filly has been given plenty of time to get over those exertions and receives all the allowances this afternoon.
At Leicester, I thought Toowoomba (2.30) ran better than his finishing position suggests at Ludlow on his chase debut and is entitled to come on for the experience especially as the step up in trip ought to suit.
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