David Ord has three bets for Friday's ITV action at Newbury including an unexposed horse stepping up in trip in the finale.
1pt Red Rookie in 2.25 Newbury at 22/1 (William Hill) - 20/1 General
1pt Dashel Drasher in 3.00 Newbury at 4/1 (William Hill) - 7/2 General
2pts Ed Keeper in 3.35 Newbury at 6/1 (General)
Marie’s Rock is out to underline her claims as a leading light in a very shallow staying division in the Coral Long Distance Hurdle.
She’s only had one run at the trip and it was a good one too when chasing home Sire Du Berlais in the Grade One at Aintree in the spring.
However, if anything she was outstayed there, leading on the bridle two out and looking all over the winner only to go down by three-and-a-quarter lengths.
She’s a top-priced 5/6 favourite to make a winning return and that’s short, especially with DASHEL DRASHER available at 4/1.
He found the favourite too quick over two-and-a-half miles in the Relkeel Hurdle in New Year’s Day but, upped in trip, ran crackers to chase home Gold Tweet in the Cleeve and Sire Du Berlais the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham subsequently.
Crucially, he arrives here with a run under his belt too, shaping as if needing it behind Botox Has at Wetherby, and his track form at Newbury reads 3412U1. He looks a solid bet to make a bold bid from the front.
More speculative is RED ROOKIE in the Coral Racing Club Handicap Chase at 2.25.
Emma Lavelle’s charge was disappointing on the face of it on his return in the Byrne Group Handicap Chase at Ascot. Strong in the market, he was on the back foot after a mistake at the first and never looked like getting involved behind Boothill.
However, the handicapper has dropped him a couple of pounds meaning he’s only one above the rating from which he was a three-and-a-quarter lengths winner over Hasankey at Warwick in March.
He’s well worth another try at this trip and, with a pipe-opener under his belt and help from the assessor, is worth a small play at the odds.
Finally, I can't let ED KEEPER go unbacked in the closing Play Coral 'Racing-Super-Series' For Free Handicap Hurdle.
His career to date has been one of gradual progression and he came forward again on his seasonal return and handicap debut at Ascot earlier this month.
Having only the fourth start of his career, he pulled nine-and-a-half lengths clear of the remainder when edged out by Rebel Intentions, who ran well from a seven pounds higher mark back at the Berkshire track at the weekend.
Ed Keeper himself is up six but looks all about stamina and the step up to three miles will bring about more improvement. He’s more unexposed than nearly all of these, clearly on the upgrade and it was interesting connections initially had him in last weekend’s Betfair 'Serial Winners' Stayers' Handicap Hurdle at Haydock.
Clearly they’ve been eyeing a valuable pot for his first try at the trip and we haven’t seen the best of him yet.
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