12:55 Newbury Thu 7 November 2019
In very deep on handicap debut at Ascot (Grade 3) but struck over C&D in March (good to soft) when beating the reopposing Our Merlin by 1¾L; 5lb above that winning mark; must leave a poor seasonal reappearance firmly behind.
Absent since finishing second to Zanza over C&D in March (good to soft); recommences battle on broadly similar terms (has risen 3lb in the handicap since); expect a bold bid from the front, with the forecast rain also beneficial to his chances.
Didn't manage to get his head in front last season although produced a number of creditable efforts, including when beaten 4L by Storm Rising on seasonal reappearance at Cheltenham (2m+, good); first start since wind surgery.
Struggled to make his mark on the Flat (has ability) when last in action here in May (1m, good); is very lightly raced over hurdles with this race representing just his fourth start; landed the odds (1-3f) in a C&D juvenile event in December 2016.
Decisive winner of a juvenile maiden hurdle at Fontwell (2m1½f, soft) last December; did okay immediately afterwards but finished the season early (February) with a laboured effort; fit from a couple of recent spins on the Flat; tough mark?
Consistent last season (41212) without being spectacular; didn't jump fluently on seasonal reappearance at Fontwell (2m1½f, good) and needs to significantly better that effort in order to play a constructive role; eased 3lb since.
Held on gamely when scoring at Stratford (2m+, good) in March, notching a second win over obstacles in the process; low-mileage in handicaps and should improve for his seasonal reappearance at Chepstow (2m, soft); stable in-form.
Won in France (Bordeaux Le Bouscat) prior to joining Paul Nicholls; highly tried as a juvenile (demonstrating some ability); mildly interesting to see what the market makes of her chances on handicap debut (post wind surgery & sporting headgear).
Last Year's Winner
|T: N J HendersonJ: Ned Curtis|
Zanza (3/1), Magic Dancer (9/2), Petit Palais (9/2), Capone (9/2), Our Merlin (6/1), Cosmeapolitan (10/1), Deadline Diva (14/1), Westbrook Bertie (28/1)
- Our Merlin
- Petit Palais
Log in for access to this exclusive content.
Next Race Off
Our racing expert Ben Linfoot has had 10/1, 12/1, 16/1 and 18/1 Value Bet winners in recent weeks - don't miss his advice for Cheltenham on Saturday.
ITV Racing's Oli Bell has five selections for Saturday's BetVictor Gold Cup card and he's backing Count Meribel in the big one.
Simon Holt picks out two selections for Cheltenham on Saturday, including the consistent mare Happy Diva in the BetVictor Gold Cup.