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Saturday’s St Leger winner Capri was cut from 14s to 8/1 with BetVictor for the Grand Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly next month after a brave win in what looked a top-class renewal of the oldest classic in the world.
The ground should be perfect for today’s jumps card at Worcester, which begins with the first division of the 3m Handicap Chase. Abbeygrey picked up the pieces at Newton Abbot last time after the leaders went off far too quickly and he can race from the same mark this afternoon, as that was a conditional jockey’s event. He will be a warm order as he bids for a quick follow up, but he had a hard race seven days ago and is readily overlooked.
The winning point-to-pointer Definitly Grey (2.00) was badly out of form when last seen back in the spring, but he has a history of going well fresh and I am looking forward to seeing Charlie Longsdon’s new stable jockey Jonathan Burke take the mount.
First time out might also be the time to catch Galros Lady (2.30) for Tim Vaughan. The mare won first time out at Lingfield last term and this multiple point winner is just 6lbs higher this afternoon.
I’m looking forward to the Beginners’ Chase where the useful hurdler Duke Street has his first start over the larger obstacles – he should go well but he is not bred for chasing and I just favour Matorico (3.00) over Wait For Me in what promises to be a most informative contest.
The selection finished third in a valuable hurdle at Cartmel last month for Jonjo O’Neill but chasing has always been the plan. Wait For Me won a valuable handicap hurdle for Philip Hobbs last term but I just wonder if today’s trip just shy of 3m will tax his stamina.
The highlight is the valuable 2m Handicap Chase and it really is a fabulous race for the time of year as befits a £20,000 contest. There is plenty of pace in the race with Adrrastos and Definite Future confirmed front-runners and that could set it up for a closer with the novices Mad Jack Mytton and Vosne Romanee (3.35) taken to appreciate how the race will be run with marginal preference for the latter.
The selection was beaten less than a length over C&D last time from a 1lb lower mark and he has really taken well to chasing with regular partner San Twiston-Davies in the saddle.
The booking of former Gigginstown number one Bryan Cooper for Guiding Stars and Harry Whittingham is noteworthy and you can put a line through that one’s racecourse debut when he pulled far too hard at a time when the stable were badly out of sorts – do check the market to see if there is any stable confidence today.
Hatcher carries a penalty for scoring at Huntingdon but he must go close for the in-form Skelton’s but I am going to take a chance with the Longsdon newcomer Sunader (4.00) who makes plenty of appeal on breeding.
Robert’s Star (4.35) has a tendency to jump out to his right, despite being a C&D winner, and that is a concern but he travelled well when perhaps just in need of the run when a close fourth at Fontwell returning from a break last month. He can reward each way support in the 3m Handicap Hurdle - another terrific and valuable contest.
The finale is another fascinating race with Vado Forte, Prendergast Hill and Counter Shy all of interest making their hurdling debuts. The two with decent form over timber, however, are Amanto and Banditry (5.05) with preference for the latter who was last seen finishing runner up in an Ascot Handicap on the level back in July.
The selection did shape with considerable promise when third at Aintree, beaten 7L, back in December on ground softer than ideal and he should be able to put that valuable experience to good this afternoon for Ian Williams and Tom O’Brien.
Stratum makes his debut for Willie Mullins at Galway in the opener but is unlikely to be much of a price whilst Suncroft (2.55) created a favourable impression when winning a bumper at Wexford back in June. He is fitted with a hood for his hurdles debut but has scope and will make a decent chaser in time.
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