13.40 – Sculthorpe ‘National Hunt’ Maiden Hurdle – 2m
A decent-looking maiden hurdle to start proceedings on the card. Alex Hales’ HIERO SPORT shaped with plenty of promise when second to a useful prospect in a Market Rasen bumper on debut back in March and is of interest switched to this sphere. Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville boast 29% and 40% strike-rates at this course and that could improve with hurdles debutant CALL THE DANCE who impressed in a Southwell bumper last-time-out. Her sex allowance also gives her an advantage over the remainder.
Tips: HIERO SPORT, CALL THE DANCE
14.15 – Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal 2023 Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle – 2m
GRAIN OF HOPE might be worse off at the weights with the four rivals she had in behind last time when scoring at Ludlow but she is open to further improvement and might prove capable of confirming her superiority. She’s a big player and the one to beat. ROYAL ATHENA was behind the former and a couple others when fifth on hurdles debut but she is entitled to be a lot more streetwise this time given it was her hurdles debut. Harry Cobden also maintains the partnership which is a positive sign as well.
Tips: GRAIN OF HOPE, ROYAL ATHENA
14.45 – Adrian Flux Bar Opening Today Novices’ Handicap Chase – 3m
Regarde made a successful start over fences after seven months off at Huntingdon just over three weeks ago but he will have more on his plate taking on BRANDISOVA who is unbeaten in two starts at this course. She couldn’t quite land the hat-trick at Huntingdon last time but still ran well enough in second to suggest she’s in form and is fancied to make another bold bid. She is the obvious angle against the favourite now reunited with Bryony Frost who predominantly gets the best out of her.
15.15 – Burnham Market Mares’ Handicap Hurdle – 2m4f
CREM FRESH is very lightly-raced for her age and despite being below form when last seen at Hereford, her two best performances have coincidentally come at this course. She is only two pounds higher than when second over course-and-distance back in May in 2021 and had placed in a bumper here over four years ago. Tom Bellamy, who has been in very good form of late, was a reunited with her and given how weak this race is, the nine-year-old might be able to gain a maiden success on her reappearance with plenty in her favour.
Tips: CREM FRESH
15.45 – Great Ryburgh Novices’ Handicap Chase – 2m
GITCHE GUMEE proved a disappointment on his final start of last season but was progressive beforehand and will make his chase debut in a winnable race. He goes well fresh and is evidently well-treated off 117 having beaten the 120+ rated Swapped on hurdles/seasonal debut last season. He has valid claims, though MAGISTRATO ran really well from the front at Huntingdon three weeks ago and would have a leading chance should he repeat that performance in this contest. Despite being unpredictable, he can be shortlisted.
Tips: GITCHE GUMEE, MAGISTRATO
16.15 – Colkirk Handicap Hurdle – 2m
In spite of his long absence, JUBILEE GOLD has been granted a very fair mark of 101 ahead of his return. Dr Richard Newland’s only runner on the card made a winning stable debut over course and distance last May and gave every indication he can rank higher. His trainer knows how to prepare one after a layoff, so he is shortlist material. PRETENDING finished a solid second in a listed handicap when last spotted and is a danger down in grade on her return to action. I expect these two to fight out the finish.
Tips: JUBILEE GOLD, PRETENDING
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