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It’s a tricky novices’ handicap chase and I’ve sided with HIGHLAND HUNTER. He has always looked like he would improve a lot when sent over fences and they’ve found a good spot for him. He did fall on his only other previous start over fences but he actually stumbled after the last and was still in with a real shout when he came down. In the main, it was a really solid round of jumping. This horse is all about stamina and a year ago, he outstayed Mighty Thunder over this trip who went on to win the Edinburgh National last week over 4m 2f on soft ground. He’s Paul Nicholls’ only runner on the card and he’s Harry Cobden’s only ride as well.
I can’t see them going home empty-handed.
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This looks the stronger of the two novices’ hurdles on the card and RAF TAVEL is the most interesting runner of the day – at any track. His form in France stacks up so strongly and if you go back two starts, he ran really well behind James Du Berlais, who subsequently was placed in a Grade 1 and has since joined Willie Mullins. In Raf Tavel’s most recent start, he won a really competitive handicap really easily and even on his final start as a four-year-old, he ran well behind Hitman before Hitman was second to Allmankind in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase. The other winner in the race is Dreams Of Home but he’s a front-runner and could set the race up for Raf Tavel. He looks really exciting going forward and if he’s fit and ready, I don’t see Dreams Of Home being at the same level.
Raf Tavel is undoubtedly the best bet of the day.
MISS AMELIA just squeezes in down at the bottom of the weights and there’s a lot of scope for improvement from her second-placed effort at Bangor last time out. That was her first run off a break. Last season, it took her two runs to win after a break and she came out and won by 12 lengths on her second start. She’s usually a really strong traveller and she proved the last day that she can be competitive in this grade. She has no problems with heavy ground, the strong pace will suit her and I can’t see any reason why she won’t be bang there at the finish.
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