Racing commentator Simon Holt has three selections for Saturday's card at Newbury, including an each-way in the Ladbrokes Trophy.
Saturday's Ladbrokes Trophy Handicap Chase at Newbury offers a tricky punting conundrum and, with those at the top of the market looking tightly matched, it may be worth chancing an upset with SIZING TENNESSEE.
At 10, Colin Tizzard's gelding is the oldest horse in the field, and four years older than his shorter-priced stable companion Elegant Escape, but Tom Scudamore's mount progressed well over fences last season and a reappearance win at Fontwell in October, when he beat the dual subsequent winner Capeland, suggests he could still be going forward.
On other efforts last term, Sizing Tennessee is over-priced: but for falling two out at Cheltenham in October, he looked like beating Black Corton; he won over this trip on the same course in December, went down by a neck to Yanworth in January and then led Rathvinden and the re-opposing Ms Parfois going to the last at the Festival before patently failing to stay in the four-mile National Hunt Chase.
This shorter trip should bring the selection and Ms Parfois closer together, especially as the latter makes her reappearance (has tended to be better for a run in the past) and hails from a stable struggling for form.
So I suggest an each-way interest in this open, and possibly not vintage, renewal.
Elegant Escape, nine lengths behind Ms Parfois (2lb better off) when third to Terrefort at Aintree in April, has picked up a penalty for his defeat of Thomas Patrick at Sandown first time out and now meets the half-length runner-up on 5lb worse terms.
Thomas Patrick, a big improver in the second half of last season, jumped boldly in front that day and must have a bright chance here under Richard Johnson. Trainer Tom Lacey also has his string in excellent form but the gelding's price looks short enough given that this will demand a career-best performance.
The admirable Black Corton could be a bit high in the handicap now going up another 4lb for chasing home Definitly Red in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby, and course winner Dingo Dollar could be more interesting.
After wins here and at Doncaster last season, Alan King's likeable gelding failed by a length to give 12lb to the progressive Crosshue Boy at Ayr in April, and the subsequent exploits of third-placed Acdc (now 12lb higher) suggest he could be well handicapped.
Another well weighted (on his best form) is The Young Master who is still 9lb below his highest-winning mark despite two victories this season at Chepstow and Cheltenham. This looks much more competitive but the nine-year-old is certainly in great heart again and is 3lb well-in compared to his future handicap rating even under a 4lb penalty.
In the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle, the very useful Flat stayer Speedo Boy is bound to command much attention after taking advantage of what looked a lenient hurdles mark at Cheltenham recently.
Up 6lb for that win, there is still just a 26lb difference between his hurdles and Flat rating whereas 40lb is probably nearer the average.
However, this could be a tougher test on softer ground and a potential smart performer lurks among his rivals in the form of CHAMP, who easily justified odds-on favouritism at Perth and Warwick in May after a battling second to the ultra-game Vinndication at Ascot.
A reproduction of that run suggests Champ could be underestimated off a mark of 139 and, in any case, he looks open to a good deal of improvement.
Later on, I like the look of LADY BUTTONS in the Ladbrokes In Memory Of Tara Von Ihering Handicap Chase.
Phil Kirby's mare has won two of her three starts over fences so far at Bangor and Newcastle last season and was hardly disgraced when fourth to Diego Du Charmil in a Grade One at Aintree in April.
Lady Buttons made a great start to the new campaign when taking a Listed mares hurdle at Wetherby from subsequent winner Mystic Sky and this strong traveller, who seems best at this minimum distance of two miles, hails from a yard enjoying an inspired run of form.