12:40 Newbury – Eaton Hill (each-way)
This new series of seniors hurdles for horses aged eight and above is a really good concept. It allows horses who are to be able to avoid well-handicapped younger horses.
Eaton Hill is lightly-raced for a nine-year-old, but he’s shown good signs of improvement this season. While he was disqualified last time for his rider failing to weigh in, he was a good winner in an stronger race than this at Doncaster. He’s had a break since that run and comes here with conditions in his favour.
He appreciates good ground and I expect him to go very close off his mark of 120.
14:55 Doncaster – Ballywood (each-way)
It’s been nearly two years since Ballywood was in the winners’ enclosure, but I think that’s about to change.
The seven-year-old is now 1lb lower than that last winning mark but has run well in defeat since, including at the Cheltenham Festival last season. This race looks like a good opportunity for him to get back on the scoresheet. He’s a strong travelling sort who has won and finished second at Doncaster in two starts and a return to the course is a positive. His yard are in good form, too.
20:30 Southwell – Khatm (win)
George Boughey has his yard in flying form, having won with five of his last 17 runners. One of those was Khatm, who should follow up his win at Chelmsford if he handles the fibresand surface at Southwell.
He’s the most talented horse in the field and arrives with recent winning form, which will make him very hard to beat. His rider Mark Crehan takes off 5lb, which negates his 5lb penalty for winning last time out. He will be very tough to beat.
4 To Win
13:50 Newbury – Pistol Whipped
He travelled very well on his first start for 10 months at Kempton in January, finishing second. He is still unexposed and this looks a good opportunity for him.
14:05 Kelso – Mega Yeats
We’re yet to see the best of her. She was a good second on a recent start in a jumpers bumper and looks well handicapped off 124.
15:05 Newbury – Gastara
She’s still improving and was a good third at Sandown last time. This is tougher, but she’s progressive and is at the right end of the handicap.
15:15 Kelso – The Shunter
He improved this season and won the Greatwood Hurdle in good style in November. He still looks well treated and should be tough to beat.
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