The November Handicap at Doncaster on Saturday is the last big race of the flat season and Peter Chapple-Hyam’s Deja is the 5/1 market leader at BetVictor although the early and significant market mover has been Collide (14s into 7/1 at BetVictor) for Hugo Palmer with leading apprentice Cieren Fallon taking off a valuable 3lbs.
The ground was given as soft at Chepstow at noon on Tuesday for today’s card and McFabulous (1.35) is due to make his hurdling debut for Paul Nicholls. The selection won three of his four Bumper starts including the Aintree Grade 2 at the Grand National meeting and this looks an ideal starting point although he will get further than the minimum trip in time.
The Handicap Chase for conditional jockeys’ looks wide open but the each way vote goes to Clondaw Rigger (2.05) who was pulled up on his seasonal reappearance at Cheltenham but ran well for a long time and is entitled to strip fitter this afternoon. The yard of Katy Price have made a quiet start to the campaign but there should be more to come from this 7-year-old this term.
A market move for Fergal O’Brien’s Good And Hardy would be worth noting in the 3m Handicap Hurdle but I am going to give the vote to Just A Thought (2.40) although confidence in the mare is tempered by the fact that a couple of the fancied horses from the yard of Rebecca Curtis ran poorly last week.
The selection ran well on her reappearance over 2m 4f and I am convinced the step back up in trip will see her in a better light. The selection has not won since her Bumper days although the booking of Richard Johnson suggests a big run is expected.
The Maiden Hurdle is another hot race and preference for Thunderstruck (3.45) over Stick With Bill is marginal with the deciding factor his previous hurdling experience for Emma Lavelle. The selection had the third 22L behind when second at Wincanton to a useful Nicholls inmate last month and this winning point-to-pointer gets the nod. Stick With Bill won a heavy ground Bumper before belying odds of 33/1 to finish runner up under a penalty.
In the opener at Nottingham I hope to see Hesssa (12.20) improve markedly on her racecourse debut when she shaped with promise, although never a factor, over 7f at Leicester back in September. Karl Burke’s filly is well drawn in stall three and today’s additional furlong should suit. Godolphin’s once-raced Beauty Stone looks the obvious danger although she is not sure to appreciate the forecast soft ground.
Frankie Dettori “felt like crying” after he finished runner up aboard Master Of Reality in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday – later demoted to fourth and the Italian suspended. I know what he felt like as I was almost in tears with the ride the Italian legend gave Mishriff (1.25) at Newbury last time when I thought he would have gone very close with a clear run. David Egan takes over in the saddle and I hope it is third time lucky for John Gosden’s juvenile today.
At Kempton this evening I hope to see Declared Interest (5.10) build on her Newbury debut when third over 7f on debut. The runner up Establish was beaten here earlier in the week but the race was not run to suit and the step up to a mile should suit Ralph Beckett’s filly.
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