Tenor can hit the right note
Man On The Spot previews all of the terrestrial television action from Doncaster, Leopardstown and Newbury.
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TENOR NIVERNAIS faded badly on his chasing bow at Haydock but was much improved at Bangor last time when scoring by eight lengths. There should be plenty more to come and he can take this step up in class in his stride.
Colour Squadron is not the most reliable over hurdles but useful on his day as placed efforts in a couple of Grade 1 races proved. He makes his chasing debut on his comeback but Module is preferred as he was still contention when falling at Exeter on his first outing over fences. Bury Parade made a winning start over the larger obstacles in a lesser grade at Carlisle and should go well but Avoca Promise has a bit to find on his hurdling form.
Unaccompanied and Thousand Stars had a real battle in this last year with the former's allowance enabling her to come out just on top. Dermot Weld's mare had a recent run on the Flat to put her straight for this while the runner-up did brilliantly to score twice in France during the summer, though over much longer trips and he's always been in the shadow of his illustrious stablemate HURRICANE FLY.
The winner of 14 of his 17 starts over timber, Willie Mullins' charge lost his Champion Hurdle crown in March but has bounced back in no uncertain terms, looking as good as ever when beating Captain Cee Bee 12 length in the Morgiana Hurdle last month. It will be a shock if he's beaten here and should gain victory number 15.
State Benefit beat Relax when landing an amateurs' race at Sandown on his return from a lay-off. But he's not been the most consistent in the past and Pete The Feat is in the form of his life, notching up a four-timer in heavy ground at Lingfield last month. He's now 29lb higher than when his winning run began, however, and MARINGO BAY is just preferred as he's moving in the opposite direction.
Down 10lb in the weights since this time last year, he had Imperial Circus behind when second in testing going at Chepstow three weeks ago and Charlie Mann's charge looks set for a return to winning ways. Rey Nacarado is another to consider as he's only 1lb higher than when winning last year's renewal and Tony McCoy is on board for the first time.
Firebird Flyer briefly looked in trouble at Ffos Las on Boxing Day but eventually ran out an easy winner. Whether he'll be able to defy a penalty and complete his hat-trick in this more competitive affair is another matter however. Sixty Something and WHO OWNS ME are others who arrive in terrific form.
The former has already won at Aintree and Bangor this season but the latter is on a hat-trick after soft-ground wins at Folkestone and Fakenham and, though he takes a big leap in class today and has gone up a further 6lb recently, Paul O'Brien claims 10lb and that could swing things his way again.
Corkage is something of a Doncaster specialist and ran a blinder over fences here two weeks ago. He has a higher rating over hurdles, however, and the going is also against him. Tornado Bob would have a chance if fully wound-up but Barafundle could be more of a threat if building on his comeback fourth at Haydock.
Lucky Vic arrives in good form but it's not up to the level of today's opposition while Awaywiththegreys and Ballybough Pat have both come up short in Graded company before. Jonjo O'Neill has won this with Backspin and Wichita Lineman in recent years and TAQUIN DU SEUIL may well be of similar ability.
He made amends for a setback at Ascot when beating previous winner Le Bec six lengths in a Grade 2 at Sandown in heavy ground and gets the vote to go on to better things here. Paul Nicholls last won this contest in 2006 with Denman but the progressive Easter Day faces his toughest task so far after winning at Ascot while Clondaw Kaempfer landed a Listed event at Haydock last month and the step back up in distance is no problem for the previous 2m4f winner at Aintree.
A competitive handicap and several have decent claims. Richard's Sundance takes the odd chance at his fences but did nothing wrong when making most at Exeter last month while Lie Forrit showed a bit more at Kelso last time. Triptico has done well over fences so far, winning cosily over 2m4f at Chepstow earlier this month.
The grey won't be far away if handling the step up in distance while Handtheprizeover has won three of his last four. He doesn't stand much racing but has an excellent strike rate and Killian Moore again takes off 7lb. Fill The Power 's second to Wyck Hill at Wetherby has been franked, as has SAFRAN DE COTTE's defeat of Godsmejudge at Stratford, and it's the latter that gets a tentative vote.
He was trying to concede weight to a couple of potentially smart novices at Haydock next time and could be well handicapped here on ground that will suit. Brunswick Gold is in decent form and will be pressing for a place again but Emperor Concerto returns from a lay-off and the others need to improve on what they've shown recently to figure.
Haydock winner Any Given Day returns from over a year off the track but has gone well fresh before and is not easily overlooked. Bakbenscher has also won at Haydock but that was only a week ago and he has a penalty to contend with while El Dancer is upped in class after going very close at Lingfield last time.
SALUBRIOUS had the re-opposing Princely Player well behind at Newbury when runner-up to At Fishers Cross, a subsequent winner at Cheltenham. Paul Nicholls' hurdler may have the edge in this with Harry Derham's claim helping his cause and he gets the vote. African Gold has won a couple of novice events and we'll find out how good he is today in this much better company.