Zarrafakt a Trophy hunter
Nic Doggett's best bets for Saturday's racing at Wincanton and Doncaster.
- Related Content
Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls have dominated the opening race at Wincanton, the Bet totescoop6 Text Tote To 89660 E.B.F. 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle (Qualifier), winning seven of the last ten renewals between them, and it's likely that Mr Mole will be a very short-priced favourite to keep up that record.
However PRESENTING ARMS really caught my eye on his hurdling debut at the track. In a farcical start he gave the field a few lengths, and then proceeded to pull hard for a lot of the very slowly-run race.
However, with his jumping improving as the race wore on, he moved into contention turning for home before being outpaced and then running on near the line under a considerate ride.
This race may still be a bit early in his career, but he looks sure to be wiser today and if they go a better gallop then I can this stoutly-bred five-year-old hitting the frame at least. Back him each-way.
The big two races on the card, the totepool.com Elite Hurdle and the Badger Ales Trophy both look like crackers, and I fancy David Pipe and Paul Nicholls to dominate the betting in the latter, as they have done in the race in recent years.
At the odds Tamarinbleu was tempting, given his good record fresh, but I'm still not convinced about him in a finish over three miles and I think The Package is well-treated but might just use this as a springboard to the Cheltenham meeting as he did a few years ago.
Michel Le Bon didn't beat much at Cheltenham in April over hurdles and I think he is far too short on what he has achieved over fences; however we all know how expensive it can be to oppose Ditcheat runners in the big Saturday races!
But I do fancy ZARRAFAKT to continue his excellent record on his first start of the season, which currently reads 1-1-1-2. The only aberration there was when he was unlucky to lose at Newbury, and his subsequent victory over this course and distance suggests he has what it takes to run a huge race here.
He might not have loads in hand with regards to his mark of 142, but this looks the right time to catch Emma Lavelle's star.
Over at Doncaster, as I write in my horse by horse guide to the November Handicap, I think WAR POET is well worth backing each-way, but elsewhere on the card SAJJHAA looks a rock-solid favourite in the Betfred EBF Gillies Fillies Stakes.
Rated 111, she's the top mare in the line-up and comes into the race on the back of a decent effort in Italy, where she moved like the winner until tiring close home.
A smooth, classy daughter of King's Best, she should get a good pace to chase in this contest and she can take full advantage of the drop in grade; she looks the banker of the day.