Rory Delargy has scoured Sunday's cards for the best bets and he's got two selections at Navan and one at Exeter.
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John Groucott has a decent record in handicap chases at Uttoxeter, with six winners from just 21 runners in the last decade, and El Scorpio is of some interest at big odds, for all the yard also runs another in the same race.
The selection had patchy form over hurdles, but did go into David’s notebook on a couple of occasions, and he shaped quite well on his chase debut/seasonal return here late last month. On and off the bridle through the race, he looked like dropping out starting out on the second circuit, but made ground up down the back straight before seeming to blow up, but was keeping on again after the last, and looked like that run was quite badly needed given how he shaped.
He’s lower in the weights here despite being out of the handicap, and while he’s probably one for a bit further down the line, he’s be worth a small interest at 33/1 or bigger here.
My Mums Posh is likely to head the market here, but she’s got to overcome a poor effort at Hereford last time. It’s possible a drop back in trip here might help, but she’s not progressing as she ought to be, and is opposable.
Avithos has a course win to her name and ran well enough last time to be given a chance, but an overall record of 2-26 is not compelling. Present Destiny is interesting on his first start for Emma Lavelle, looking as well handicapped on old form as he does, for all it’s hard to gauge what ability remains on the back of an absence.
The market will likely tell that story, but one who is all but guaranteed for this step up in trip on handicap debut is Henry Daly’s Bretney; like so many from Henry’s yard, he is learning as he goes and it says much about this race that a repeat of his 17½l eighth of nine at Uttoxeter last time would give him a fair chance.
That should not be the limit of his ability by some way, however, and as a full-brother to the yard’s 3m winner Pearlita, out of a sister to Foxhunter fourth Pearlysteps, he’s very much the type to improve markedly for a test of stamina, and this stiff 2¾m should help him show what he’s capable of.
Willie Mullins has dominated the Beginners’ Chase on Navan’s card in the last decade, often taking it with a top-class novice, but I’m not convinced that Blackbow deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Douvan, Min, Vautour and Al Boum Photo, and whether he ought to be a short-priced favourite on his own merit is questionable. His hurdles form at this course is certainly inferior to that shown by Alfa Mix last season, and while Blackbow should make a chaser, that is also the case with Alfa Mix.
Set to win on his only start in points when falling at the penultimate fence, Alfa Mix has looked a smart prospect over hurdles, winning the Grade B Tara Hurdle here last December, and runner-up to Kilfenora in another handicap here in January, when the pair pulled 18 lengths clear of the third. He was bought by J P McManus, Kilfenora’s owner, on the basis of that effort, and he jumped really well until fading from the last in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham in March.
He is just the sort to make into a better chaser, not just in size, but given the away he attacks an obstacle, and he can give the hotpot plenty to think about on his chase debut.
Samurai Cracker is overpriced in this 2¾m handicap hurdle. Caroline McCaldin may not be a familiar name to many, but she is steeped in racing, being the daughter of Wilson Dennison, who is one of the most prolific and revered producers of talented young jumpers in Ireland.
Samurai Cracker is a decent point-to-point winner who was second to the high-class Décor Irlandais last year, and who would have gone close to winning his second hunter chase but for falling at the last in a race featuring Billaway, Edwulf and Salsify at Naas earlier this year.
Samurai Cracker shaped really well on his hurdles debut when second to Go Another One at Down Royal in August. Two subsequent runs have come at around 2m, and have not shown him to best effect. He now makes his handicap bow back up in trip and with much softer ground to deal with.
Given his record on soft or heavy ground reads 2221F23, he would appear to be sure to do better than he has on quicker ground over hurdles so far. The market makers have ignored him, but his ability is not in dispute, and 25/1 in a middling handicap hurdle is much too big.
You can get that price and five places at Betfair Sportsbook and Paddy Power.
Posted at 1800 GMT on 21/11/20
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