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War Lord was second and beaten by 16l in the King Henry VIII at Sandown. He had beaten Minella Drama up in Carlisle on his second chase start, after winning his chase debut in a Newton Abbot handicap. He has won on testing ground at Haydock which augurs well for handling the ground here. The Tizzards have hit form with five winners in the last two weeks and a number of other horses running really well. He should be up against Faivoir and Il Ridoto and he has to concede 4lbs to Il Ridoto.
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Brewinupastorm handles soft ground but I don’t think he wants it this testing and he concedes a penalty here. Goshen will be more at home on this type of ground but there is always the concern with him going left handed. I’m going to side with Darver Star for Gavin Cromwell. He impressed at Punchestown last time out, beating Home By The Lee by 20l. He’s the smart pick in this one.
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Dashel Drasher showed he was in good heart when winning over hurdles last time at Newbury. He relishes testing ground and I don’t think there is any issue with the track. He has won at Haydock, Cheltenham, Newbury, Chepstow and Wincanton. He progressed from winning handicaps off 143 to winning the Grade 1 Ascot Chase last season. The yard are in form having another winner at Wincanton on January 20. Master Tommytucker, Itchy Feet and Bristol De Mai will run but I’m not sold on them.
I can’t really see past Allaho for Willie in this one. Fakir Doudairies will give him some sort of race but I’d be surprised if Allaho didn’t win.
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Defeats in points for The Galloping Bear have come on good ground and he is almost perfect on testing ground, including when winning two hunter chase races last spring. The first he slammed the 139 rated Sametegal at Fontwell by 12l and that horse had beaten Porlock Bay at Wincanton on his previous start (Porlock Bay won the Foxhunters at Cheltenham). He followed up at Carlisle but fell in a novice hurdle at Chepstow at the beginning of December, which I imagine was a sharpener for the Welsh National. He missed that but his mark of 135 might not be quite as stiff as first thought and he will go well despite top weight. He’s a good price too.
Sunday’s betting tips:
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