A mixed week with five losers – two fell when holding every chance – on Saturday cutting into the substantial profits of Thursday and Friday. We finished the w/e 30/10 with a profit of £8.75 and the month to date a healthy +£53.51 with just one day left in October.
The first Tuesday in November is always the Melbourne Cup on the level and the Haldon Gold Cup over sticks. Note the latter has been moved to Friday for the first time, and ITV4 are covering five races from Exeter.
There is significant rain forecast for Warwick and the highlight is the valuable Stan Mellor Memorial Novice Chase. Only four go to post but three are potentially top-class - it’s a fascinating race.
Stage Star is likely to head the market having won the Grade 1 Challow Novice Hurdle over the trip at Newbury over Christmas before bombing out at both Cheltenham and Aintree. Despite those poor runs he remains an exciting prospect, has had a wind operation in the summer and Paul Nicholls reports his schooling to have gone very well.
West Cork is a winning pointer who returned from a 630-day lay-off when doing us a favour in the Greatwood Hurdle last season and he had every chance when coming down two out in the Swinton Hurdle back in the spring. Trainer Dan Skelton was considering keeping his 8-y-old over timber when interviewed last month but has decided to go down the novice chase route. He was the highest rated of the three over hurdles but was beaten on both runs at today’s trip.
SKYTASTIC is not bred for chasing, but he has the size and scope to jump a fence and has only tasted defeat once in his five-race career when he was a bit too keen for his own good over three miles at Aintree and failed to get home.
This intermediate trip of two-and-a-half miles looks ideal and, while I appreciate, he would be receiving plenty of weight from Stage Star and West Cork over timber, he can make a winning start.
FAVORI DE SIVOLA has a good record fresh and has switched yards from Nick to Jane Williams since last seen back in the spring. All his career wins have come right-handed, but he ran well at Chepstow last season, and the forecast rain would not be a concern.
Guetapan Collonges won two of his last three over fences but came down in a two-horse race last time. He has an engine but was not exactly error free when scoring at Market Rasen on his penultimate start. He could easily run up another sequence for Charlie Longsdon and he represents the danger.
Fairlawn Flyer has won his last three – all with plenty of cut in the ground – but is 25lbs higher in the weights than when beginning the sequence at Wetherby at the beginning of the year. The Peter Bowen yard are a bit quiet by their high standards, and he does not have the best of records fresh, although the forecast rain is a plus.
It is not often you have a horse who finished third in a classic turn-up at Redcar on the first Tuesday in November, but Millebosc was third to St Mark’s Basilica in the French Derby of 2021, and he could be thrown in off a mark of 97 – 94 if you include his jockey’s claim.
He has his first start for William Haggas this afternoon and could turn this into a procession if back to his best French form - he was beaten less than 4L in a Group 3 over a mile at Chantilly when last seen back in July. He has been put in at 15/8 and could go off Evens or 9/2 – fair to say a market move would be significant.
Dubai Souq won the corresponding race 12 months ago from a 5lbs higher mark, and this is the first time since that he will have his optimum underfoot conditions. That said he has the worst of the draw and has not been quite the same horse this term.
FIRST IMPRESSION finished 3L behind Dubai Souq 12 months ago but is 11lbs better off in the weights if you take into consideration jockeys’ claims. The each-way recommendation was slightly disappointing at Nottingham last time but has a good course record and was not given a hard time by Jason Hart after his winning chance had gone last time. He gets the each-way vote in a cracker.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.
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