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The Bet Victor racing column
8:30am Tuesday 10th December 2013 in Sport
There is a wonderful Novices’ Chase at Uttoxeter and I can’t desert African Gold (12.50) despite the fact that he disappointed on his chase debut when beaten out of sight at Cheltenham last month. He certainly has the scope for the larger obstacles and finished runner up in the Albert Bartlett in last season’s Cheltenham Festival.
If he is going to be a major player in races such as the RSA Chase later in the season he really ought to take win although this is no simple task with exciting chase debutant Milborough, Sixty Something and the mare Ballinahow Star in the field. The latter really ought to have won over today’s C&D last time and it wasn’t young conditional Matt Griffiths’ finest hour as he failed by three-quarters of a length to peg back Definite Memories.
The mare gets 7lbs from the selection and Nick Schofield takes over on Jeremy Scott’s 7-y-old who will certainly win her share of races although this looks a stiffer assignment against the boys then against her own sex last time.
Slightly surprised to see Princess Caetani (12.20) not stepped up in trip from the minimum distance but she showed enough when runner up over C&D last time to suggest she could go one better in a similar contest. At her best on the level on soft ground she hurdled really well last time and might just have bumped into a decent sort in Koolala.
David Pipe’s Bladoun (1.50) has attracted support on more than one occasion and looks to have been given a chance by the handicapper who has dropped him 5lbs following a modest effort at Taunton over 3m. Dropping back in trip on softer ground really ought to suit although the drying ground is a slight concern for a horse whose hurdling has never been as fluent as it could be.
Tolkiens Tango will appreciate underfoot conditions and there was plenty of money for him at Exeter on his reappearance, but I give the Pipe inmate a last chance to confirm the promise of his first season over hurdles.
At Fontwell Beforeall (1.10) has been raised 8lbs for his recent Plumpton success over 2m 4f but that might be enough to prevent him following up, given he looks an improving sort for Oliver Sherwood. Bucking The Trend showed promise on his chase debut but would prefer softer ground and similar comments apply to Coolking making his British debut for Lawney Hill having won at Sligo for Dessie Hughes back in October.
Mixologist (2.40) looks on a fair mark for his handicap debut having won his maiden hurdle on decent ground at Southwell back in February. The Warren Greatrex yard have been firing in the winners of late and Noel Fehily, who has ridden the horse in four of his five previous career starts, keeps the mount.
The feature is the 3m 2f handicap chase and Eleazar (2.10) despite nearing his 13th birthday gets the nod as he is likely to appreciate the good ground better than many of today’s rivals. The selection is 7lb higher than when scoring over C&D last time but he is still well treated on his best form and Matt Crawley again takes off a valuable 5lbs.
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