We’ve teamed up with BetVictor and Charlie McCann to preview the day’s racing.
An excellent card at Newbury this afternoon and Sebastian Beach (2.00) might need to win the opener to get into the Fred Winter at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.
The selection made all at Chepstow last time and the form of his seven lengths third to Beltor on his penultimate start at Ludlow looks decent in light of the latter’s facile win in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton last weekend. Eminent Poet is 6lbs better off for the five lengths he was beaten in south Wales but the selection might have more to offer in a fascinating opener.
Minella Rocco was bought for £260,000 after winning an Irish point-to-point and thrashed the highly-regarded West Wizard at Kempton on his hurdle debut at Kempton earlier in the month.
The selection bypasses the Festival but is taken to maintain his unbeaten record in a terrific contest with another winning pointer April Dusk one of a number of dangers in receipt of 6lbs from the JP McManus-owned selection.
The ground is currently good to soft but drying out all the time and Village Vic (3.00) will appreciate today’s conditions more than most having failed to get home over 2m 3f on heavy ground at Ffos Las last time.
The admirably consistent Cody Wyoming will ensure the race is run at a good clip which should suit the selection dropping back a quarter of a mile.
The hope is that AP McCoy has a good day as Bandit Country (3.35) makes his chase debut off what looks a very workable mark. Yes the six-year-old has been very expensive to follow having been a beaten favourite in his last three starts but that was when the stable of Jonjo O’Neill were out of sorts and he has been beaten by some useful sorts. The hope is that the switch to fences will be the making of him.
The handicapper has raised Fourth Act (4.10) 5lbs for his recent Fontwell effort returning from a short break but he could still be fairly treated given he is lightly-raced and entitled to come on for the run.
The yard of Colin Tizzard had a couple of winners at Wincanton on Wednesday and Fourth Act can continue the stable’s excellent recent run.
At Doncaster, Scoppio Del Carro (3.10) has been struggling to get home on soft ground of late but the mare is sure to appreciate today’s better ground and ran very well behind leading Triumph Hurdle fancy Devilment at Wetherby last month on ground softer than ideal.
Vivaccio is sure to be a warm order for the Novices’ Chase but on good ground for the first time the winning point-to-pointer Pure Oxygen (3.45) can spring a bit of a surprise for Harry Fry who remains in top form.
The selection jumped out to his left at Ludlow back in November and you get the impression that the yard have been looking for some decent ground for the son of Presenting who once cost E140,000.
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