Messulburgh satisfies the need

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We’ve teamed up with BetVictor and Charlie McCann to preview the day’s racing.

This afternoon’s card at Chepstow has been abandoned leaving jump racing fans with Musselburgh to satisfy their National Hunt cravings, and further action on the all-weather from Lingfield and Wolverhampton. Today’s action will be surely just an appetiser for Sprinter Sacre’s much-anticipated return in tomorrow’s Clarence House Chase at Ascot and BetVictor make the ‘Black Aeroplane’ the 11/10 favourite to make a winning return to action, on his first race since being pulled-up at Kempton Park 13 months ago.

Punters looking to nick a few quid to throw at the former Champion Chaser tomorrow can do so by backing Brave Spartacus (1.10) in the handicap hurdle over an extended two and a half miles. The selection is rated 140 over fences after winning a competitive handicap chase at Doncaster two seasons back but has plied in trade over timber thereafter and runs from a 31lb better mark. Keith Reveley’s charge landed a gamble last time out at Sedgefield when making all to win by five lengths and regular pilot (and the trainer’s son) James should be able to ensure he follow’s-up from a 9lb higher mark.

Just five go to post for the feature two and a half miles handicap chase with Pauline Robson’s Habbie Simpson and Riskier likely to be well-supported after finishing 1-2 in a similar contest last month at Newcastle. The form of that race has already worked out with the third winning earlier this month at Wetherby by eight lengths. A chance is taken instead on Quito Du Tresor (2.45) however for the in-form Lucinda Russell and Peter Buchanan presumably opting to ride over stablemate Vengeur De Guye.

The selection boasts excellent form over course and distance and was successful from just a 3lb higher mark last term. The evergreen 11-y-o was an unlucky loser when collared by stablemate Reaping the Reward on New Year’s Day and should remain competitive despite a 3lb rise at the weights.

Clever Cookie won last year’s corresponding 2m Handicap Hurdle en-route to an excellent campaign on the flat and a 106 rating thereafter and remains 33/1 with BetVictor to continue his progression and land next year’s Ascot Gold Cup. James Ewart’s handicap debutant Avidity remain open to plenty of improvement and is respected however It’s High Time (2.10) can land the spoils for Lucinda Russell and Wilson Renwick. The selection will appreciate the return to a much flatter track after being caught late-on last month at Hexham and looks particularly well-treated from an opening handicap mark of 122.

A 12lb rise at the weights should stop the terrifically-named Snapping Turtle following-up his recent course and distance success however a horse handicapped to run well is Pauline Robson’s Full Jack (3.20) in the three miles handicap hurdle. The selection has tumbled down the weights since arriving from his native France as a 143-rated chaser and is a fascinating runner with James Reveley in the plate, and running over timber from a career-low mark of 105.

Solar Deity (5.15) should be head and shoulders above the field for the feature Conditions Stakes at Wolverhampton and can land the spoils for Marco Botti and Martin Harley. Botti won the corresponding race last term with Jakkalberry and Solar Deity shares a similar, consistent profile and is taken to follow-up his excellent run when second over course and distance on Boxing Day.

Six go to post for a competitive 7f handicap and the pair of Kaufmann and Barchan likely to be well-backed for the John Gosden and Charlie Appleby yards respectively. Both were beaten favourites last time out and look far from straightforward whereas Little Lord Nelson (6.15) won well at the track earlier this month and appears a horse going in the right direction. The selection stayed on strongly in the closing stages to suggest he was going the right way and can progress further now sent handicapping.

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