Dashing frontman Ed Chamberlin and the ITV4 cameras will be in Wincanton on Saturday where the West country track hosts a couple of Grade 2 contests, the “Rising Stars” Novices’ Chase (2.25pm) and the Elite Hurdle (3pm).
It’s difficult to know exactly how the terrain will be riding as heavy rain (10 to 20mm) is forecast from 4pm on Friday, but with the course stating the going will be Good if it receives 10mm, that would be perfect for Somerset sorcerer Paul Nicholls’s Secret Investor (6/5) in the former race.
This lad was a fair tool over the smaller obstacles and surprised connections when cruising to victory on his seasonal bow in the Persian War Novices’ Hurdle at Chepstow last month, when he had been expected to require the outing after wind surgery during the summer.
He’s always looked a chaser in the making and while Nicholls’s former assistant Harry Fry’s Bags Groove (11/8) is a nice sort with an official rating almost exactly the same as the fancy’s over hurdles, the ‘Investor’ can land this before possibly taking on the likes of Black Op.
Nicky Henderson’s We Have A Dream (5/2) is only a 16-1 poke for the Champion Hurdle, unsurprisingly as he remains unbeaten since transferring to Seven Barrows at the beginning of last term and he could have the Elite at his mercy.
His five successes last season featured two at the top table, including last time in the 4-year-old Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree where he simply pulverised the opposition, drawing clear from two out and staying on like a tank to score by seven lengths.
While the selection does have the burden of a half penalty of 3lb on his back for winning a top-class race, if he comes here in the same form as at Liverpool, he’ll be extremely hard to beat and this looks a good stepping stone to next month’s Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.
Natural progression could see him a lot shorter price for the Champion come March.
The curtain comes down on the turf Flat season at Doncaster where the feature is the November Handicap (3.15pm), a juicy contest featuring 23 combatants and the answer could lie with Worcestershire wizard Ian Williams’s Reshoun (10/1).
The wily trainer looks like he might have laid this fellow out for this event as he hasn’t been seen in public since hacking up in a slightly longer than this mile and a half race at Haydock a couple of months’ ago, when he was three and a quarter lengths too powerful for Never Surrender.
A 4lb penalty for that success doesn’t look unduly harsh and the great thing about the fancy is the ground doesn’t appear to matter as he won on a surface resembling a road in his native France, but it was heavy when he scored at the North-west sweat bowl.
The old maxim horses for courses often applies well at Town Moor and he scored easily here over the same trip just over a year ago.
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