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Jack Milner previews Monday’s cards


There was terrific NH action at Warwick and Kempton on Saturday, with the locals out in force to protest about the planned demolition of the latter with the Jockey Club’s proposal to close the track and create an all-weather track at Newmarket. Sam Twiston-Davies stole the show at the Sunbury venue, completing a treble aboard Charlie Longsdon’s Our Kaempfer having already ridden a double for dad Nigel aboard the pair of and Ballymalin.
The latter earned a quote of 25/1 (first show) with BetVictor after giving 10lb and a beating to his seven rivals in the 3m Novices’ Hurdle and after landing an historically competitive G2 at Warwick, BetVictor make Ben Pauling’s Willoughby Court a 14/1 chance for both the Neptune and Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdles at the festival in March. Lucinda Russell’s One For Arthur won the feature Classic Chase over an extended three and a half miles and could prove an Aintree horse for connections; the 9yo was fifth in the Becher Chase last month and is 33/1 from 40s with BetVictor for Grand National success in the spring.
Lucinda has a handful of runners at Ayr, another one of her local courses north of the border, and must go close with Spoils of War (3.15) in the 3m Handicap Chase. The gelding remains relatively unexposed for an 8-y-o, with just eight starts under rules, and remains a maiden after a luckless career thus far. He has already proven a better chaser than a hurdler, placed on his last two starts, and was narrowly beaten at the track when last seen finishing third here last month. He should improve for the step up in trip and could prove ahead of the handicapper from an unrevised mark.
Gordon Elliott was forced to retire his Gold Cup winner Don Cossack in the week, but the yard nevertheless remain in good form and I expect Loose Ends (1.10) to make the trip across the Irish sea worthwhile in the opener. The selection ran to a fair level on the flat for former handler David Simcock but showed a smart aptitude to hurdling when fourth on her debut over timber last month at Punchestown and looks to have been well-placed to make it second time lucky under Jack Kennedy.
Champion Jockey Richard Johnson is an eye-catching jockey booking aboard Elliott’s Holeinthewall Bar in the feature Novices’ Handicap Chase however, preference lies instead with Phil Kirby’s Transient Bay (2.45) making his debut over fences. The selection was progressive over timber last season winning three times, including over course and distance, all on testing ground. The 7-y-o boasts the scope to thrive over the larger obstacles and should improve for the application of a first-time tongue-tie.
I’m delighted to see David Pipe keep Bella (1.40) to the minimum trip after putting in her best effort in some time last time out at Lingfield over two miles. The well-bred mare had previously struggled to get home over two and a half miles but has been dropped a pound by the handicapper and must go close under top weight. She won in similarly conditions last season at Plumpton, two miles on testing ground, and is a confident selection to claim a fourth career success under the excellent Tom Scudamore.
I was impressed by the manner of 7lb conditional jockey James King’s win aboard Potters Cross on Challow Hurdle day at Newbury and think he could get a tune out of Newsworthy (2.35) in the Handicap Hurdle over an extended three miles. The selection is making just his second start for the Neil Mulholland yard but boasts smart form with former handler Nicky Henderson and could prove effective in first-time blinkers.
I’m willing to give Itoldyou (3.05) another chance after his excellent second down at Fontwell on Boxing Day and can hopefully go one better from the foot of the weights. The now 11-y-o is up 2lb for that runner-up finish but remains in good heart, finishing second in his last two starts, and gets on well with the excellent Tom Cannon in the plate.
For all the latest odds head to BetVictor.com
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