I ENJOYED the first day of the November Meeting and Magic Dancer was a cracking winner for us at 13-2.

Hopefully most of you got on at the better prices because he was smashed in the betting before the off and ended up going off 100-30 favourite.

Day Two looks to be equally good fun although a couple of the races look quite tricky.

12.40

I’m not sure about this race. It looks to be a match between Gumball and Apples Shakira and I’m not particularly strong on either of them. I’ll keep a watching brief for this one I think.

1.15

I was interested to see if Give Me A Copper would run here but he wasn’t declared at the last declaration stage and we are left with just three runners. BALLYOPTIC is the one that jumps out as the obvious winner and I’m happy to back him at the current prices. He looked really classy last time out.

1.50

This all revolves around MINELLA ROCCO in my opinion and specifically whether Jonjo O’Neill has him ready to go or not. He is the best horse in the field but also has to carry top weight as a result and that isn’t easy when racing at this sort of distance (3 miles 3 furlongs). The vibes from the stable are good though and I do fancy his chances. There has been strong support for Three Faces West who has now been backed into favourite but he hasn’t been on a racecourse for nearly a year and I would have concerns about that. Doing Fine is, for want of a better phrase, doing fine but not the same class as Minella Rocco who I think will be the answer to this puzzle.

2.25

The BetVictor Gold Cup is a fascinating handicap that is very valuable and many trainers target the race in an attempt to get their season off to the best possible start.  I am absolutely torn between BALLYALTON and ROMAIN DE SENAM in this race but given that there are 20 runners I am considering backing both of them.

Ballyalton is trained by Ian Williams who is in fine form and really knows how to target a horse for a specific race a long time in advance. BALLYALTON was a winner at the festival in 2016 and has been off until his recent satisfactory return at Aintree

If he is the force of old he could do very well here from just a 3lb higher mark than his festival win and 10-1 will look like a very big price. ROMAIN DE SENAM is a much more straightforward choice – he is a young progressive chaser who is only 5 years old and was a runner up at the festival over hurdles in 2016. He has won his last two and I can see him going close again despite this being a tougher race.

3.0

This looks like a really strong chance for THOMAS CAMPBELL to get another win. He is in great form, looks like he is improving and crucially he has the assistance of the apprentice James Bowen who can claim a 7lb allowance that he is very good value for. I’m a bit annoyed because Thomas Campbell was 9-4 in some places when I looked at this race earlier but is now best priced 7-4. It’s still a bet at that price for me but if it shortens in closer to even money I would be more hesitant. There comes a price when a horse loses its value as a bet regardless of how good a chance you think it has of winning.

3.30

This is a tough puzzle this race with loads of horses that tick some boxes. The two favourites have obvious appeal, Paul Nicholls has an interesting one, as does Nicky Henderson and Poker Play for David  Pipe could be a classic Pipe plot horse. The one I have plumped for though is Tom George’s horse STAMP YOUR FEET. He is definitely improving and looks the sort of horse who could win this and move on to better things. He was a close second on seasonal debut to Bags Groove who has since won again and that form is appealing.

4.0

No bet for me here in the bumper. There is rarely enough form to go in with these races so unless there is something that has caught my eye, a noteably well-bred horse or an interesting jockey/trainer combination I tend to give them a wide berth.

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