Jack Milner of BetVictor.com previews Friday’s cards
Most Celebrated (2.10) disappointed Victor Ludorem last time out at Haydock but looks a promising juvenile when making a winning debut over timber last month at Wetherby, and back in calmer waters can record a second hurdles success in the Newbury opener. Neil Mulholland’s ex-Godolphin inmate jumped beautifully on better ground on debut for new connections and looks to have been well-placed to defy a penalty under Tom Scudamore. Rated 84 on the level, he should improve for the use of a first-time hood, and get his head in front before a likely crack at Aintree’s G1 4-y-o Hurdle.
I can see Ben Pauling’s Le Breuil (2.40) winning the 2m 4f Novices’ Hurdle under Nico de Boinville. The selection won a Sedgefield Novices’ Hurdle back in November, beating Dan Skelton’s The Bay Oak by 9l under Tom Cannon. With the form bolstered by the latter winning twice subsequently, he can get the better of Benatar for the father and son team of Gary and Joshua Moore.
Venetia Williams’ Plaisir D’Amour (3.15) should defy a penalty and follow-up her recent Wetherby success under a 7lb penalty. The well-bred mare found plenty in the closing stages to deny the two market principles, winning by five lengths, and should go in again before the handicapper has chance to re-assess her.
Jonjo O’Neill’s Beggars Cross is up 9lb for last month’s Doncaster success however, that 3m Handicap Chase fell apart in the closing stages and I think he’s not guaranteed to improve for the drop back in trip. I much prefer the chances of Tom George’s Behind the Wire (3.50) under Paddy Brennan. The selection is up 4lb for finishing a narrow second last time out at Doncaster but looks to be going the right to hopefully score for the second time over fences.
Aidan and Jonjo must go close with Quarenta (4.20) making his handicap debut stepped up in trip. The selection was placed in a pair of smart bumpers at both Lingfield and Huntingdon, but has been slow to come to hand over hurdles. The selection out-ran his price last time out at Towcester, when only beaten nine lengths when sent off a 50/1 shot in a warm looking race, and can make further inroads now handicapping from an opening mark of 115.
At Doncaster, Banny’s Lad (2.50) should follow-up under a penalty after landing a gamble for the Mick Easterby yard just eight days at Sedgefield. The gelding scored over this afternoon’s trip by twelve lengths and should have little trouble defying a 7lb penalty under 3lb conditional jockey Harry Bannister.
Brian Ellison’s 145-rated chaser Apterix bids to claim a third chase success in the Novices’ Chase over two and a half miles however, in receipt of 6lb I think Nicky Henderson’s Bivouac (4.30) under regular partner Noel Fehily. The selection made a promising debut over the larger obstacles last time out at Exeter but clearly needed to go the other way round when jumping out to his left throughout. He is entered in tomorrow’s BetVictor Novices Handicap Chase at Newbury and looks a promising novice chaser for connections going forward.
Sophie Leech’s Café Au Lait (5.05) was narrowly beaten in an amateur riders’ contest at Catterick on Tuesday, beaten under a penalty when running into an inspired Brodie Hampson, and should make amends in the finale. The selection landed a gamble at Wetherby last week and remains 4lb ahead of the handicapper before he is re-assessed on Monday.
For all the latest odds head to BetVictor.com and follow @BetVictorRacing on Twitter