That man MacCann is in red-hot form at the minute – BetVictor’s Charlie McCann takes us through Thursday’s cards below
Confirmation yesterday that only a maximum of five will go to post for the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury on Saturday including the Hennessy/Welsh National winner Native River who is the Even money favourite at BetVictor and recent facile Haydock winner Bristol De Mai (5/4) who will be well served by this trip just shy of three miles.
Indeed Native River could lose at the weekend and still enhance his Gold Cup claims whereas Bristol De Mai must win if he is to have realistic Gold Cup aspirations. Note BetVictor are now betting Non Runner No Bet on the 4 Championship races at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.
At Doncaster today I am slightly surprised that connections of Pithvier (1.55) are persevering with three miles given the lightly-raced seven-year-old looked a non-stayer over the trip when runner up to Cabragh (reopposes on 9lbs worse terms) at Bangor at the beginning of January. Ben Pauling must be hopeful that today’s slightly better ground will suit and I am convinced that the horse will be better than his current mark come the end of the season.
Might Bite is the star on show and is currently the 5/1 second favourite at BetVictor for the RSA Chase behind Bellshill. He should have no problems giving 6lbs to his two inferior rivals and this looks a good piece of placing by Nicky Henderson whose novice should have a nice school around on decent ground.
The feature race at Huntingdon is the listed Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle over the best part of two and a half miles and is a vintage renewal with Grade 1 winner Messire Des Obeaux having to give 8lbs to Keeper Hill and Bags Groove (2.20) who is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time.
Song Saa (3.20) was well backed at Lingfield on her chase debut but looked to run out of petrol over 3 miles and this drop back in trip should suit at a track where she has finished first and second at on her last two visits.
The selection landed the odds at Taunton last time but not in the manner of a 1/3 shot and jockey Noel Fehily suggested he needed a truer gallop. If the headgear works the oracle, he can take advantage of the weight concession from Messire Des Obeaux who travelled like a very good horse when winning the Challow Hurdle at Newbury last time.
The handicapper has seen fit to drop Shanroe Santos (1.45) 6lbs since his last run and I hope to see a much-improved run dropping back in trip with cheek-pieces fitted for the first time. Both career wins for Lucy Wadham’s 8-year-old have come right-handed and this winning pointer will appreciate today’s decent – forecast good to soft – ground.
At Meydan I felt Flash Fire was crying out for a mile when runner up over 7f last time and I’m surprised that connections stay at 7f. On the other hand, First Selection (5.25) is dropping back from a mile and the Simon Crisford trained colt gets the vote with Pat Smullen an encouraging jockey booking.
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