umps fans will be thrilled with the heavy schedule over the remainder of the week, culminating in Sunday’s rescheduled Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.
Nicky Henderson‘s revelation that Altior will go straight to the Cheltenham Festival, with Champ dropping markedly in trip for the Game Spirit Chase on Sunday, has also given racing fans plenty to think about with greatest show on earth starting in four weeks’ time at Prestbury Park.
Catterick has been frozen in recent days but all is well for Tuesday’s fare and the Tunstall Handicap Chase (2.15) sees the classy Schiehallion Munro stretch to a trip beyond three miles for the first time. Out of the mare Mrs Fawlty, he rarely lets you down, but may struggle to give 25lbs to Who’s In The Box, who is progressing and stamina is assured.
Up north under the lights at Newcastle, they commence with a smashing Betway Handicap (4.40), in which Alpha Theta reverts from Southwell after hacking up in both her starts. This test may not suit so much and Autumn War might be able to reverse Wolverhampton form with Horn Of Plenty, after which he was found to be lame.
There was a huge entry for Wednesday’s opening Every Race Live On Racing TV Novices’ Hurdle (12.30) at Wetherby, reflecting trainers’ lack of opportunities of late. Point winner Dreams Of Home was really impressive at this track on debut and should have no issue stepping up in distance, though there is no getting away from the strength of this race.
The Bet At racingtv.com Novices’ Chase (1.05) is a midweek sizzler, with Chantry House potentially warming up for a return to Cheltenham. Top weight Protektorat looks the class act here, even if he were turned over at short odds at Wincanton.
Perhaps the bet of the week will be Merrior in Dundalk’s 4.25 on Wednesday. This filly was really eye-catching on her first start for the in-form Joseph O’Brien last month and looks certain to improve. Having won her last three, she travels strongly, and gets a crucial 5lbs off the top weight Nada To Prada.
With the Irish youngsters seemingly so strong, it will be fascinating to see how good Heross Du Seuil looks on his second start for Nicky Henderson in Thursday’s attheraces.com Juvenile Hurdle (2.48) at Fontwell. At Sandown, the Grade 2 Jane Seymour Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (2.30) can see Little River Bay maintain her progress.
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