The Challow Hurdle is the big race on Saturday where I find it hard to see Thyme Hill getting beaten for the Philip Hobbs team. Also on the Newbury card, Copperhead can take the Mandarin, whilst at Leicester Little Rory Mac looks the one to beat in the Bronze Fos Chase.
Heed Your Hunch Handicap Hurdle
Now Look At Me has yet to run a bad race and put in a career-best run to finished just behind Paseo at Fontwell. He’ll run his race again but there may be more progressive types in the field.
The horse with the best form for me is One For Rosie who finished third in the Grade 1 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree last season, We haven’t seen him since but given natural improvement he’s the one to beat.
Point Of Principle has always shown plenty of ability and beat nonetheless than Paisley Park on debut in a bumper. He hasn’t quite reached the heights once expected but did finish runner-up in a hot Grade 3 handicap at the Aintree festival on his final start last season. He’s got a decent record when fresh and shouldn’t be underestimated.
Selection: Point Of Principle
Cobolobo stayed on strongly to win at Haydock earlier in the month and under a seven-pound penalty and think he can add to this victory. The Robert Walford trained Moving In Style seldom seems to run a bad race and ran very well behind Perfect Candidate when last seen. He runs off the same mark here which brings him into the reckoning.
The Colin Tizzard trained Copperhead won his final two starts over hurdles and although beaten on chasing debut that was behind Welsh National fancy Truckers Lodge. He’s since come out and won at Wincanton, so is very much on an upward curve.
Thyme Hill has yet to finish out of the first three and ran a cracker to finished third in the Cheltenham bumper last season. He always looked like he’d be better when jumping and has won the Grade 2 hurdles thus far and I think he can continue this winning streak.
The Paul Nicholl’s trained Enrilo was a surprise winner of a Grade 2 at Sandown earlier in the month and the master of Ditcheat must think plenty of him to pitch him in at Grade 1 level so he must be taken seriously.
The Cashel Man was a very smart horse on the level and was very impressive in a hot looking handicap at Newbury at the end of November. That’s two wins from his last two runs over hurdles and who knows how far he could go.
Selection: Thyme Hill
Novices’ Handicap Chase
I’m going to keep this race nice and simple, for me, it’s all about the top horse Tidal Flow. He’s ultra-consistent, couldn’t have won any easier at Uttoxeter the last day and with “Dickie” back in the saddle he just wins.
There are lots of others with bits of chances including Commodore Barry and Morning View but I’ll be surprised if they beat the favourite.
Selection: Tidal Flow
Silver Fox Handicap Chase
This is a race I wouldn’t be getting overly excited about with many of these out of form and limited in ability. The two to focus on are Glance Back and Eureu Du Boulay who both won last time out. Glance Back was very consistent last season but won registered one victory and although the winning margin at Southwell the last day was eye-catching his current mark looks high given he’snow eight-pounds higher than his last winning mark.
Eureu Du Boulay has to give weight away to all his rivals but he was a very impressive winner in France in November and follow up here against some out of form rivals.
Selection: Eureu Du Boulay
Bronze Fox Handicap Hurdle
Little Rory Mac won easily earlier in the month under ten-pound claimer Nathan Brennan who keeps the ride today. That was his first victory under rules and I think he can follow up here.
Masters Apprentice’s only defeat over hurdles came behind the very smart looking Minella Trump at Sedgefield. He got eight-pounds for his latest victory which may just be enough to stop him now.
Ballyellis has already had a very busy campaign winning four times in total. He continues to progress nicely and with Jordan Nailers valuable five-pound claim he should go close.
Selection: Little Rory Mac
Petit Palais is an interesting runner switching back to the flat for the first time in over a year. He was a maiden winner when trained by John Gosden and was twice a winner over hurdles for current connections last season. He’s far from exposed on the level and could get involved.
The top-weight Arabic Culture stayed on well to win at Wolverhampton earlier in the month. He only got three-pounds for that win and can possibly add to that recent victory.
Blue Medici has been admirably consistent of late and added a fourth victory to his CV at Wolverhampton when last seen. A four-pound hike seems fair for that win and comes here in good form.
Selection: Petit Palais