13:05 – Betway ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (Div I)
The opening contest is a novices’ hurdle over two miles, where there is a likely short priced favourite in Pozo Emery for trainer Paul Nicholls. The six-year-old was second on his stable debut at Newton Abbott in October.
He improved from that first run at Chepstow in January, where he clearly relished the testing conditions. He has to carry a 6lb penalty for that success, but he looks capable of overcoming that in what a looks a weaker race.
Light N Strike makes his debut for Emma Lavelle following two second-placed finishes on his first two career starts.
He is likely to improve for the run, but is likely to follow home Pozo Emery based on the form we’ve seen.
No Drama will have to improve dramatically to be in the shake-up. On his two starts for trainer Paul Henderson, he has run better than the form has suggested. He’s one to watch as I think he’ll be winning races when he goes up in trip in time.
13:38 Betway ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (Div II)
The second division of the novices’ hurdle is likely to be won by Paul Nicholls, who saddles the 134-rated Hell Red .
He exploded on to the scene with a bloodless victory at Chepstow’s October meeting. He looks rock solid and should be giving his rider Bryony Frost a quick-fire double.
Pol Crocan won over course and distance last time, but only narrowly beat a horse rated 112. He’d have to improve to be able to carry this 6lb penalty and concede weight to Hell Red.
In that case, Blumen Glory is taken to finish second for Neil Mulholland.
14:13 Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap Chase
A field of seven have been declared in this one, all of which have chances.
Hat-trick seeking Flagrant Delitiep is improving, but this is a step up on the races he’s been in contesting previously. He will need to improve again to win off this career-high mark.
If Caid Du Lin goes on the heavy ground, he’s well-handicapped to put in a big performance. His three starts this season have shown promise, and he’s dropped 8lb in the handicap.
In 40 career starts, he’s yet to run on heavy ground, with most of his runs being on a quicker surface. If there is any support for the nine-year old, that may be telling of his chances.
14:48 Betway Casino Handicap Chase
First Man has won both of his last two starts and has been hiked up the weights accordingly, but is still improving. He may go well under Charlie Todd, who claims 5lb off his back.
It will be a huge performance from the top weight I See You Well , who has to shoulder 12-6 on his back. He won a more competitive race than this at Plumpton last time, but the question is whether he can afford to give weight away to all of his rivals.
Dentley Du Mee has fallen in the weights and runs on an official mark of 104 here. He hasn’t won since November 2017, but he is well-handicapped on the best of his old form.
15:18 Betway Kingwell Hurdle
The Betway Kingwell Hurdle is one of the last trials for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
This year’s renewal sees a competitive affair with three main protagonists, who all have compelling cases.
The ante-post favourite Song For Someone won the race last year when it was run at Kempton Park and has won both of his starts this season, including the International Hurdle at Cheltenham on his most recent run.
He is improving and you would suggest his running style would be suited to Wincanton’s flat track, where pace is key.
Goshen is the most intriguing runner in the race. He was 10 lengths clear at the last in the Triumph Hurdle and stumbled on landing, unseating his rider.
He’s been beaten in three starts since and has a lot to prove, but the ability is there.
Navajo Pass is the other horse that could go well, he was a staying on fourth in the Triumph Hurdle last season. The five-year-old has improved with each start this season and is now seeking a hat-trick of victories, having won the Betway Handicap Hurdle at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day and then the New One Hurdle at Haydock last month.
15:58 #Betyourway At Betway Handicap Hurdle
Despite being lightly raced, Oneupmanship is expected to go very well.
The six-year-old is unexposed but in three starts this season has caught the eye. Off his mark of 123, could be dangerous. He was a good second over course and distance last time. He was second on his debut in a heavy-ground bumper. The more testing the conditions, the better.
Take Your Time is also at the right end of the handicap, but his jumping on his last two starts has let him down. If his jumping has brushed up then he’s expected to go close under Bryony Frost.
The evergreen 12-year-old Kansas City Chief must be a joy to own. He’s run very well in some decent races over the years, namely in last season’s Pertemps Final at Cheltenham. Despite his age, he could run well under the promising young rider, Millie Wonnacott, who claims 7lb off his back.
16:33 Betway Handicap Chase (For the Harry Dufosee Memorial Cup)
Seven runners go to post for the Betway Handicap Chase.
Having had a mid-winter break, Sizing At Midnight is expected on plenty of betting slips. He was last seen when he fell at Wincanton in November in the Badger Beers Silver Trophy Handicap Chase, where he was travelling well.
He has been freshened up but it is worth noting he has a very poor record on ground softer than good.
Despite pulling up on his first start for Paul Nicholls, lightly-raced Fabulous Saga managed to win a Grade 2 Novices’ Hurdle a few years ago.
On previous form alone, he’s the most talented in this field. Whether he’s still got the ability to win a race is the question.
17:08 Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap Hurdle
The final race on the card is over 2m5f.
Likely favourite Those Tiger Feet was a good winner of a similar contest at Ayr in November and Kim Bailey, whose horses remain in great form, has booked the services of Champion Jockey Brian Hughes.
Plenty of horses will need to improve on what they’ve shown so far, but Lake Shore Drive has shown a modicum of promise and could be in the shake-up.
Silver Nickel , too.
This will be a race where the market will be a huge indicator, so pay close attention to those attracting support in the betting, especially at bigger prices.
Visit Betway’s horse racing betting page.