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CAPTAIN BROOMFIELD, who is a brother to very smart chaser Captain Guinness, shaped with plenty on promise on Rules debut when runner-up to a promising sort in a heavy-ground novice hurdle at Haydock last month, and looks a sure-fire improver now. He will likely come into his own once tackling further, but this trip should be fine for now, and he sets a good standard. That said, impressive Exeter scorer Judicial Law, should give him plenty to think about under a penalty.
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The Alan King yard is still not firing on all cylinders, but BIG BOY BOBBY made a good start over hurdles when second in a juvenile event at Hereford earlier this month, and seems sure to have learnt plenty from that initial experience. His sole win on the Flat for Roger Charlton came on good ground, so the return to a sounder surface should be in his favour, and he looks the one to beat. Bumper-winner Shallow River makes obvious appeal on hurdles debut.
ROYAL RUBY came to chasing late, but defied market weakness – and overcame a scare just before halfway – when making a winning start in this sphere at Stratford in July. That was his first start for 18 months, and he wasn’t able to justify a steep rise in the weights back at that venue five weeks later. He faced competition for the lead that day, though, and the form looks solid, so he will remain of interest on his return from what still looks a fair mark. Only Money was back to his best when a ready winner at Leicester earlier this month so is feared most.
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PRESENT VALUE cashed in on a falling mark on debut for Jamie Snowden at Leicester last month and he looks a shrewd by at £10,000 on that evidence. He was well supported that day and never really gave his backers much to worry about, always travelling powerfully and asserting on the run-in after leading on jumping the last. A 5 lb rise in the weights leaves him well treated on the pick of his form and he can follow up now. Sherborne will relish this trip now handicapping and is second choice.
VIENNA COURT has proved a revelation this season, powering through a mares’ handicap when winning at Cheltenham last month before following up in good style in a 16-runner handicap chase at the same venue on New Year’s Day. She beat a top-end handicapper in Simply The Betts with a bit in hand that day and she should have no problem completing a hat-trick back against her own sex in this listed event. Maskada, who won at Leicester last time, will appreciate the ground, and can follow the selection home.
This is an interesting race which acts as a qualifier for the Final at the Cheltenham Festival in March, and BELLS OF PETERBORO, who impressed at Chepstow last month, looks the one to side with. He is still unexposed at around three miles and is very much one to keep on the right side of at present. Tip Top Cat is another going the right way and commands plenty of respect in his pursuit of the four-timer.
QUEEN OF THE COURT had plenty to spare when winning at Taunton last time, so an 11 lb rise may not prevent her going in again. That was just her second start over fences and she is open to more improvement. A point success at the start of The Wise Traveller’s career marks him down as a possible improver now chasing so he’s feared most ahead of Thundersockssundae who had a possible excuse at Wetherby last time and had been knocking on the door in handicap hurdles prior to that.
HUNTING BROOK is the pick on pedigree and shaped well for a long way when fourth at Wincanton a month ago, so he’s fancied to find enough improvement to open his account at the second attempt. Rambo T achieved a bit more in form terms than the selection when third at Newbury first time up, so he’s regarded as a danger.
Friday Huntingdon tips
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
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