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It was nearly a full house on Wednesday and it looked that way until the final selection fell on landing at the final fence when he must've been 15L clear. Heartbreaking isn't the word, but this is gambling and these are horses, not robots so things like this are going to happen, it's just very unfortunate that it happened at that moment in time, but hopefully, the horse is okay after that incident.
Newbury 12:05 – Grivetana 11/2 (1pt)
I wouldn't go too heavy on Grivetana as she is clearly a mare who goes in and out of form, but there's no doubt she is well-handicapped and no doubt she has the ability to win races of this nature, but due to her inconsistency I'm just going to play 1pt on her.
She was 2nd in this race last year when carrying a low weight, she travelled very nicely into the race that day but was seen off by the top weight who was a good hurdler and has transitioned nicely into the chase ranks. She has since finished 2nd in a Grade 3 handicap to another top weight carrier, First Street, who is a very good horse on his day but since then, she has been disappointing and they've mentioned slow ground being a disadvantage to her, but I don't buy into that.
I think the wind surgery she's had over the summer could unlock some further improvement from her as she is a strong traveller but her finishing efforts can often be very flat like is was in the Class 2 at Musselburgh where she came swinging into contention but couldn't quite stay on as strongly as the others. She seems to enjoy Newbury, having finished 2nd on her two starts at this track and when you consider she is 5lbs lower than she was in this contest last year, she has to be a serious contender.
Paul Nicholls is in good form, some of his horses aren't running great first time out but he has won this race twice in recent years and went close with this horse last year so I expect her to be spot on for this.
Newbury 2:25 – Equinus 7/4 (2pt)
Though this is a much tougher race than what Equinus won at Aintree 11 days ago and this is a Pertemps qualifier, which I normally try and avoid, it's very difficult to look past Nigel Twiston-Davies' horse in this race.
There are a few in this race who are still well-handicapped, mostly on older pieces of form and they have dropped through the handicap, but Equinus is a horse on the up and I think this horse has more to give especially off the same rating as last time out. He is realistically 3lbs heavier though he runs off the same rating as James Turner can only claim 7lbs this time around as opposed to the 10lbs he claimed last time out, but for the sake of 3lbs I don't think it'll matter in the slightest. This horse looks a real stayer and if he's not worse for wear from the quick turnaround, he'll be very tough to beat.
My main concern with this horse is that his jumping is scruffy, but he won with plenty in hand at Aintree last time out despite making a mess at a few hurdles, and though the odds aren't great, I think he'll go off shorter.
Ludlow 2:00 – Florencethemachine 5/2 (1pt)
Though Florencethemachine didn't exactly record a great RPR of hurdles debut, I thought she faired much better than the stats would suggest.
She is a PTP winner so she stays very well, she was well supported on her hurdles debut at Chepstow when going off 9/4. She travelled well for that race but clearly needed that run as she was very tired approaching the final hurdle, but it was still a nice introduction to the smaller obstacles. Her jumping was good barring the final hurdle and she will be better over fences, as she is scopey and gives her hurdles plenty of air. The winner that day was very smart and will be a nice one to follow for the rest of the season, so I don't think it was a bad run at all.
This race doesn't look particularly great and the favourite is the hurdle debutante, Between Waters who is also coming up to 2m 5f from 2m from her bumper run. She is also a PTP winner so clearly stays well, but she was keen in her bumper race and though she was a short price for that race, and has clearly been showing a lot at home, I'd be very concerned about how free she was in that race and she will be fresh as she has had 264 days off the track so that keenness might come out again.
Sedgefield 1:35 – Fortcanyon 11/2 (1pt Bet365)
I really believe this race is for the taking for an unexposed horse like Fortcanyon who makes his chasing debut in this.
The top-weight Light Flicker is a decent horse but carrying that weight isn't ideal and he ran well on seasonal return last time out, but I think at the age of 11 he is susceptible to an improver. Dragonfruit doesn't fully convince me as a true stayer at the trip though he finished 2nd in this race last year and his jumping is very sketchy. Onestepatatime is probably the main danger to my fancy as he stays the trip, and loves this track, but I'd like to think Fortcanyon can be better than him over fences.
My selection is a previous PTP horse, he didn't win over points and wasn't particularly great in those races but he has improved for Sandy Forster and looks like a thorough stayer so today's trip of 3m 3f looks ideal for him on chase debut. He signed off last season with a win at Perth and once again stayed on very strongly, but the run which caught the eye and showed his stamina strengths was the run at Carlisle when finishing 3rd after being out the back of the TV in a 0-120.
Sandy Forster had a winner with a horse making their seasonal return in the last fortnight, so she is clearly capable of readying one first time out.
Newbury - 12:05 pm
11/2 @ Bet365
- 2:25 pm
7/4 @ Bet365
- 2:00 pm
5/2 @ Bet365
Sedgefield - 1:35 pm