BetVictor’s Charlie McCann previews Friday’s card.
Sixteen horses were declared on Thursday for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday with the weights headed by Nicky Henderson’s Hargam. Sam Twiston-Davies is confirmed for BetVictor’s 9/2 market leader Ballyandy and I will be disappointed and out of pocket if he were out of the frame.
Bangor have an 8am inspection on Friday morning ahead of their seven-race card and if racing gets the green light I hope to see Sainte Ladylime (2.20) break her maiden tag over fences at the third time of asking. The selection wasn’t beaten far at Exeter last time but gave every indication she would appreciate going left-handed on that occasion. The Bailey yard were back among the winners at the weekend, after a quiet spell, and the selection is taken to outpoint the likely favourite Antartica De Thaix.
There are no anticipated problems at Kempton and it might be sensible to concentrate our preview on their seven-race jumps card, which begins with a conditional jockey’s handicap hurdle over the minimum trip.
In the opener Jazzy and Keppel Isle should ensure there is a true gallop and I hope to see North Hill (1.40) strike fast and late for Ian Williams and jockey David Noonan. Keating wears a hood for the first time for Philip Hobbs and I would suggest we keep a close eye on the market given the five-year-old is making his handicap debut and is bred to be better than his current mark.
Peak To Peak was out of his depth in the Challow Hurdle last time but this looks more his level and he must run well but Get On The Yager (2.10) was only beaten 11 lengths behind the promising Willoughby Court last time and can get back to winning ways. The selection will be a decent chaser next season but connections look to have found a decent opportunity for him to defy a 7lbs penalty for scoring at Market Rasen earlier in the season when he was given a good ride by Harry Skelton who is reunited today.
If Bags Groove runs well at Huntingdon on Thursday that will be a boost to the chances of Captain Buck’s (2.40) who finished behind the Harry Fry animal at Taunton on his hurdles debut. This step up in trip should suit this dual-winning bumper horse who represents the yard of Paul Nicholls.
Gorsky Island (3.15) has been off the track for over 400 days but has gone well fresh in the past and three miles on good to soft ground on a right-handed track are the optimum conditions for the nine-year-old.
Visandi (3.45) has only had three starts in Britain but has been dropped 3lbs for finishing fourth at Wetherby on soft ground back in November. Today’s better ground ought to suit and the selection showed promise in both previous starts over the minimum trip. The Jonjo O’Neill yard have only had one winner in the last fortnight, at the time of writing, but the hope is they spark into light soon in the run up to the Festival.
Politologue only has one rival to beat in the Graduation Chase and it is interesting to see connections fit the grey with a hood for the first time. The novice lost little in defeat when losing his unbeaten record over fences at Haydock last time and is currently 8/1 at BetVictor for next month’s JLT Novices’ Chase.
At Newcastle this evening Wild Approach (6.45) can follow up his recent Southwell success for Robert Cowell. The selection was described as immature following that success and the handicapper could have raised him by a bit more than the 3lbs he did for that fibresand maiden success last month.
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