Charlie McCann of BetVictor.com previews the weekend’s racing action
The big betting race of the weekend is today’s November Handicap from Doncaster, which brings the curtain down on the 2017 flat turf season. William Buick did us a favour when landing the fillies’ & Mares Turf race at Del Mar in the Breeders’ Cup last weekend and he is taken to land this prestigious handicap for John Gosden courtesy of Royal Line (3.15).
The selection (now 9/2 after having been backed from 6/1 at BetVictor) has won two of his three career starts and remains open to significant improvement. The last two winners of the race came out of stall 12 and the selection has been given a similar draw this afternoon.
The classic generation have only won two of the last ten renewals but Gosden’s string remain in top form and, after the exploits of Enable and to a lesser extent Cracksman, it would be fitting if the Newmarket handler took the last big prize of the turf season. I would be disappointed if he didn’t finish in the money and do note BetVictor are paying each way five places on the race.
At Aintree Captain Choas, blinkered for the first time, is better than he showed at Chepstow first time out – winner Mia’s Storm looks top class – but Geordie Des Champs (1.05) won at this corresponding meeting 12 months ago and has the scope to make into a decent chaser.
The Rebecca Curtis yard haven’t made the best of starts to the new season, but they had a well-backed runner (Just A Thought) at Warwick yesterday and if he runs well I would be keen to support the six-year-old who obviously enjoys the Mildmay track.
The Fresh Prince is interesting in the Trevor Hemmings’ silks near the foot of the weights in the 2m 4f Handicap Chase and it will be worth noting if the market speaks in his favour. First time out might be the time to catch this quirky sort, but marginal preference goes to On Tour (2.15) who finished runner-up in the corresponding race 12 months ago from a 2lbs higher mark and, arguably, 7lbs lower if you take into account jockey Mitch Bastyan’s 5lbs claim.
Duke Of Navan (3.25) has only raced once since October 2015 and finished runner up to Pain Au Chocolat at Perth back in the spring. The winner reopposes on 4lbs worse terms this afternoon but Ryan Day takes off a valuable 3lbs and I hope to see the Nicky Richards 9-y-o get his career back on track.
The Elite Hurdle at Wincanton is a hot race with conditional Kevin Dowling taking a valuable 10lbs from the back of Coeur De Lion for Alan King. He must go close but I just favour Lough Derg Spirit (3.00) who has his ideal conditions, a flat right-handed track, and can make a bold show from the front.
In the Badger Ales Handicap Chase Fletchers Flyer (3.35) is only 5lbs higher than when scoring at Punchestown last April and he can make a bold bid for Harry Fry and Noel Fehily although there is not much chance of the selection getting a soft lead with a number of confirmed front-runners in the race. The selection is priced at 12/1 with BetVictor and is another each way recommendation.
There is a terrific card at Sandown tomorrow and the return of the talented but enigmatic Might Bite who will be a very warm order in the Intermediate chase. The selection was an impressive winner of the RSA Chase despite nearly pulling himself up on the run-in and is only a 7/2 shot at BetVictor for his midseason target the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
He could turn this into a procession but Label Des Obeaux (2.20) receives 6lbs from the likely short-priced favourite and needs to race right-handed to be seen at his best. The selection has had a pipe opener at Chepstow and is entitled to come on for that experience. He faces a tough task at the weights although it should be noted that he would only receive an additional 3lbs from Mite Bite if this were a handicap.
Emma Lavelle could do with a winner and Irish Prophecy (1.5) is an exciting hurdling recruit for the yard having won both starts in Bumpers at Doncaster and Kempton where he beat the highly-touted Champ of Nicky Henderson.
At Ffos Las Billy Broncho (3.30) makes his chase debut for Evan Williams and he has the scope to make a better chaser than hurdler. The selection was fortunate to win at Ayr over timber back in January but looks a thorough stayer and connections look to have found a good opportunity for the 6-y-old to make a winning start over the larger obstacles.
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