Gordon Elliott's perfect Sedgefield record this season and a Nicky Henderson newcomer at Warwick feature among today's Talking Points.
1. Elliott has unblemished record to uphold
Gordon Elliott sends two runners to Sedgefield, where he’s had six runners so far this season and has yet to send out a loser. On the face of it, Pat’s Oscar will do very well to maintain that perfect strike-rate in the RaceBets Handicap Hurdle but the mare’s three career wins under Rules have come on really deep ground and while conditions remain lively enough, moving from two miles up to three miles, three furlongs promises to suit ideally. Earlier on the card, Savannah Moon has a strong chance in the RaceBets Racing From Over 40 Countries Maiden Hurdle. Another mare, she was picked up from Kevin Ryan’s yard where she was rated in the 60s on the Flat and made a perfectly reasonable debut over timber at Ayr at the start of the month.
2. Henderson newcomer of note
Several antepost Cheltenham Festival betting markets are yet to catch fire and the Triumph Hurdle is clearly among them. We’re currently looking at 8/1 the field and there’s no real shape to proceedings with under eight weeks to go before the JCB-backed championship contest. There’s time for one or two gauntlets to be thrown down yet and perhaps Nicky Henderson’s Laskadine will do just that in Warwick’s opening Racing TV Free For A Month Juvenile Hurdle. She was snapped up by JP McManus after winning a Listed hurdle at Auteuil in September and makes her belated debut for the Seven Barrows team. The third from Auteuil, Philanthrope, has since come out and won by six lengths so there’s substance to the French form and Henderson is operating at a strike-rate of 38% (10-26) at Warwick this season – jockey Barry Geraghty, meanwhile, is 1-1.
3. Eyes on the prize
The biggest pot of the day is up for grabs in Warwick’s Star Your RacingTV Free Trial Now Handicap Hurdle and it's attracted a competitive little field. Sir Will and Ocean Cove line up for the first time following wind operations and the betting could shed a bit of light on how they’ve been working since undergoing surgery, while Holly Bush Henry is fitted with a visor in a bid to get the well-handicapped but out of sorts eight-year-old back in the groove. The one who still has the potential to improve past them all is Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Unblinking, who steps up to three miles for the first time. He looked short of a gear around Haydock last time but had won here in good style previously and might yet prove up to his revised mark.
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