We start our Channel 4 previews with a handicap hurdle. This looks a very wide open race with a couple of these making a good start to the new jump season. Hammersly Lake and Silsol look to be the two favourites here. Both have produced a couple of good runs on their latest outings with the latter now chasing his hat-trick, he has been place in six of his seven runs and if he continues to improve the way he is he’ll be a hard one to catch today. The former fell two runs ago but it didn’t seem to knock his confidence when he finished a creditable second last time out.
Exitas completed a hat-trick early this season and wasn’t disgraced when sixth in a class one earlier this month and with Conor Shoemark back on board it has to be a bonus and is my selection for this today.
We go north to Newcastle for our second race. A small field of six line up for this with the early favourite being Irving; his last two runs have not been what we have expected from him but he was absolutely flying home when falling at the last when last seen; he should be in the firing line once again today.
The biggest danger and my selection is the German horse and top weight Artic Fire; he’s been knocking on the door as of late and found only one too good on each occasion; he looked like he needed his run at Down Royal at the end of October and if he strips fit here today he will be a hard one to catch.
Aurore D’estruval is another with claims; she bolted home leaving a clear set of heals to the rest of the field at the beginning of this month and will surely take advantage if any of the other two make a mistake.
Artic Fire (WIN)
Our next race is a three mile hurdle and it’s hard to look anywhere else but the favourite. More Of That has a 100% strike rate and has excelled in every race especially when beating Annie Power at Cheltenham in the World Hurdle back in March; he has been raised nine pounds after his previous race but that shouldn’t be a problem today and with the champion jockey on board he should get the job done easily.
The biggest threat looks to come from Cole Harden; he won very convincingly on his latest run where he made every inch of the running to beat a small but very strong field; he’s not the most convincing hurdler but he makes up for that with his speed over the ground and should make this an interesting race.
More Of That (WIN)
We go back to Newcastle for the next race a three mile listed handicap. Hey Big Spender won this race twelve months ago but hasn’t quite lived up to that performance since and the soft going will probably be an issue for him again today.
Victors Serenade likes to have a bit of cut in the ground and the soft going today should suit; he won on his latest start but wasn’t fluent at all during the whole race and I can’t see him or any of the other giving the favourite too much trouble.
Broadway Buffalo showed a glimpse of his previous potential when finishing third two weeks ago; he was badly hampered at one point and it seemed to knock his confidence a bit in the finally part of the race, if he can get his head in front early today he can make all and wins this.
Broadway Buffalo (WIN)
A field of nineteen line up for our penultimate race. Djakadam was seeking a hat-trick when falling at Cheltenham back in March; he was traveling really well that day and seemed to lose his footing on the landing; he’s being tried at this distance for the first time and with the booking of Ruby Walsh he’s an interesting one.
The Druids Nephew and Smad Place look the two interesting ones for me. The former has produce two great runs this season so far and looks like Neil Mulhooland has been preparing him for this task today. The latter ended last season with two wins from three and showed he is very adaptable to the going changes; he won’t mind if there is any rain today and may benefit if there is.
Triolo D’alene won this race twelve months ago but that was off a ten pound lower mark and the conditions look to be soft-heavy won’t be in his favour.
Midnight Prayer is another to note; he comes here seeking a hat-trick today and should have every chance of getting into the places after his latest two runs; he has proven form over this distance and if he continues to progress the right way he should be there in the closing stages.
Druids Nephew (E/W)
Midnight Prayer (E/W)
The final race of the Channel 4 show is a seventeen furlong handicap chase. Solar Impulse wasn’t all that convincing when he won on his latest outing where he blundered a few of the obstacles in the middle of the race.
Monetaire made a great start for his new yard when finishing third of nineteen at Cheltenham two weeks ago and looks to of been a great new addition to his already impressive David Pipe’s yard; he also made a couple of mistakes during his race but has shown some very good form in France the last couple of years and today can be his day to get his first win in Britain.
Arthurs Secret is another who beckons from France and wasn’t disgraced finishing second on his first run in Britain; he looks to have potential but this looks a very big ask for him today but the experience should set him up for races to come.