After back-to-back winning Naps (7/1 & 7/2) for our team on Wednesday and Thursday, Matt Brocklebank has a selection for every Friday meeting.
Nicky Henderson has clearly been a little bit behind when it comes to getting some of his top horses fit this autumn but the Seven Barrows strike-rate has been ticking over quite nicely regardless, and he’s on record recently stating he was able to gallop plenty of them on the grass for the first time this season.
That bodes well for this weekend and beyond and BOTHWELL BRIDGE is begging to be backed first time out over fences in the Betfair Daily Rewards Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase at Sandown.
Unlike all of his rivals in this contest, Bothwell Bridge lacks a recent run but I don’t mind that as he returned last season with an easy win on hurdling debut, while his subsequent third to Bravemansgame at Newbury which was no disgrace.
He mopped up an easy opportunity at Hereford in February before pulling up in the Grade One at Aintree won by Ahoy Senor, but we can forgive him that.
The six-year-old resumes following summer wind surgery, for new connections after a £75,000 sale, and he’s always looked the type to do well over the larger obstacles. All things considered, this looks the time to catch him.
Evan Williams’ LUSITANIEN can open his account in the MansionBet Faller Insurance Handicap Hurdle over the extended two miles at Sedgefield.
The five-year-old made quite an encouraging start to his season when shaping with promise for a long way before ending up sixth at Chepstow early last month.
He was entitled to need that first run since February, while the assessor dropping him 3lb on the back of it looks potentially quite generous.
On top of that, it does appear the Williams team is about to really spring into life, which wouldn’t be a great surprise given we’ve now had a little bit more substantial rain.
The assessor seems to have taken a strict reading of NO HUBS NO HOOBS’ comeback effort at Newton Abbot (see FREE replay below) and he’s backed to take full advantage in the Two And Three Quarter Miles Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.
He finished right alongside the 110-rated Opening Bid on his seasonal return in October and now goes handicapping off precisely the same mark, despite that rival winning well off 3lb higher on his next start (the runner-up has also won on chasing debut since).
Colin Tizzard’s horse still has loads of potential after just three runs over obstacles and while clearly a future chaser in the making if all goes well, he can surely win races over timber based on that fourth behind Skatman, and stepping back up in distance here looks bound to play to his strengths.
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The Betway Handicap looks a decent little sprint at Newcastle and no doubt there’ll be plenty of interest surrounding Lahore after what can only be described as a very eye-catching run on stable debut here last month.
However, it’s not like he’s a frequent winner these days and while clearly well-treated on the pick of his turf form, he’s yet to win a race on an all-weather surface.
I’d much rather side with the relative youth of MACHO PRIDE, who also returned from a break last month with an interesting effort in a course and distance handicap.
Beaten three lengths in seventh that day, the end result doesn’t tell the half of it as he simply had nowhere to go behind rivals down by the stands’ rail and he definitely crossed the line with loads in the tank. He’s well worth a bet running off the same mark despite the slight rise in grade.
He showed enough on his first start for Nick Alexander to suggest SKIPTHESCALES can snap a long losing streak in the Follow RacingTV On Twitter Handicap Hurdle.
Off the back of a wind-op and a plunging handicap mark, the selection finished third behind Sultans Pride at Kelso on his reappearance, his best run for a while. He’s down another pound here, down in grade to a Class 4 too and already a course-and-distance winner. He looks a player.
He continues to catch the eye and down in grade for the Unibet Working With Raceday RTV Handicap Chase, GALAHAD QUEST can get back to winning ways.
He was a big eyecatcher on his seasonal return and then travelled strongly through the Paddy Power Gold Cup only to find himself with too much to do, running on into fifth. A strong gallop is forecast here which will suit and he’s handicapped to win a race like this.
He’s open to more improvement and GERICAULT ROQUE can open his account over fences at the second attempt in the Luke Hathaway Supports Injured Jockeys Fund Novices' Limited Handicap Chase.
A winner at Sandown and Plumpton as a novice hurdler, he made his chasing debut at Wetherby last time and shaped well when finishing third behind handicap snip Greyville. He rallied strongly from the second last there and will appreciate going up to three miles from a one pound lower mark.
He’s very unexposed and SAMARRIVE can improve past his mark of 130 and win the Betfair Daily Rewards December Handicap Hurdle.
Paul Nicholls’ charge won at Kempton on his only start for the champion trainer last term and was strong in the market for a competitive handicap at the Cheltenham Showcase Meeting. He travelled well down the hill only to be found out by speedier rivals from two out.
He’s expect to relish the return to a right-handed track here, Harry Cobden takes over in the saddle and they’ll go a good gallop which will suit.
He’s been crying out for a step up to a mile-and-a-half and NEPTUNE SEAS gets it in the Play 4 To Win At Betway Handicap.
Charlie Appleby’s charge was third over ten furlongs at Newcastle last time, outpaced two out before staying on again inside the final furlong. He’s ready to win off this mark and will sit handy in a race in which a weak gallop is forecast.
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