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Coverage starts at the home of jumps racing with a handicap chase over an extended 3m 3f. There are one or two in here who will be warming up for the Welsh National, but one ready to go is CAPTAIN DRAKE for Harry Fry and Bryan Carver, who takes off 5lb. He won well at Uttoxeter last time and was a fine second in the Midlands Grand National last season. He is up in the weights now, but he might be more ready for this than some of his rivals.
A cracking Grade 1 here in the Morgiana Hurdle over 2m. Hard to get away from SAINT ROI who might just be a Champion Hurdle horse in the making for JP McManus. He was very good in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham and returned this term with a cosy success at Tipperary. Mark Walsh is on top for Willie Mullins.
Now a Grade 2 Chase over 2m. I have to stick with ROUGE VIF who will surely get a few of these off the bridle with his bold front-running. He was simply brilliant when last seen at Cheltenham, and while his opponents here are tougher, he’s a real improver for the excellent Harry Whittington. Gavin Sheehan is back on top after just returning from injury and this gives him a huge chance of success.
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This is a competitive handicap hurdle over an extended 2m. PROSCHEMA was beaten by Anemoi at Wetherby last time, but that rival went in the other day at Chepstow and the form has a solid look to it. That run will have put my hope spot on for this and the Dan and Harry Skelton combination of trainer and jockey surely have a great each-way chance at the very least.
A handicap chase to enjoy here over an extended 3m 3f. CHRISTMAS IN APRIL needs to be Christmas in November here, but it’s possible as this is very winnable. My hope ended up being pulled up at Uttoxeter at the end of last season, but prior to that he looked a most progessive stayer for Colin Tizzard. Jonjo O’Neill Jr looks a good jockey booking.
Now a Grade 2 novices’ hurdle over an extended 2m. FOR PLEASURE may not be any better than he is right now, but I’ll give him another chance after an absolute shocker at Kempton last time. He hung badly left that day and obviously that spelled disaster on a right-handed track. Hopefully, the free runner will do better here for Alex Hales and Harry Bannister.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
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