The stars on the flat may be embracing the extravaganza that is the Breeders’ Cup, but that doesn’t mean jumps fans will be left disappointed this weekend.
There are eight contests set to be shown live on Channel 4 on Saturday, and that means there is an octet of opportunities to redeem yourself if your horse finds one too good.
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For us, we are looking at a trainer and jockey duo that are set to hit a double this weekend, though not necessarily together.
Here are our best bets this weekend…
While the likeable Rock on Ruby and resurgent hurdler Grumeti will surely be popular winners, the fact that neither have proven they stay three miles means they are not an attractive betting proposition.
John Ferguson’s Aqalim has proven he does just that, having taken a competitive handicap hurdle at Cheltenham over the trip by a whopping nine lengths.
He shot up the weights for that win, but then ran close against the admirable 115-rated mare Polly Peachum at Sandown giving her weight.
A repeat of that performance will see him go close in Yorkshire on his first foray into Graded company.
Any rain that comes would inconvenience others more than it would him, and at around the 5/1 mark could be the value angle in the race.
John Ferguson has already fired a couple of useful hurdles at decent races this term in the shape of Penglai Pavilion and Devilment.
Aidan Coleman takes the ride again, as he did for those two charges, and will surely be hoping of another win in the black silks of Bloomfields.
The six-year-old is yet to finish out of the first two on his three hurdle starts, and could be well treated on his handicap debut.
A dual Listed on the flat the former John Gosden impact must have plenty more to give over obstacles. This race is a tricky contest, but we are expecting far more improvement.
Don’t let top-weight put you off Venetia Williams’ charge, after he carried 11-12 to finish second behind Many Clouds in the Hennessy Gold Cup last term.
That run was on his seasonal reappearance, and it is clear to see that the eight-year-old is one to catch fresh, having triumphed on his first run of the campaign in the two years previous.
One of those victories came in this very race in 2013, when taking the contest off a 15lb lower mark.
That rise in the handicap shouldn’t be off putting as he chased home the hugely progressive The Young Master off 2lbs higher last term. If returning in similar form he could be excellent value.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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