With the great New Year’s Day fanfare now behind Ed Chamberlin and co, the ITV cameras head to Sandown and Wincanton for this Saturday’s terrestrial action.
One thing is for sure, we’ll all be praying for better weather than we witnessed during the washout at Cheltenham.
The action on the track should at least brighten up proceedings with the Grade 1 Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle an intriguing highlight of the afternoon.
Here’s our take on that contest, as well as a few other best bets…
Paul Nicholls is always a trainer to watch in this part of the world with the Ditcheat saddler boasting a 34 per cent strike rate at his local track.
And he looks well represented with Favorito Buck’s our tip to bounce back to form and land this latest edition of the Yeovil Chase.
The five-year-old has the scope to do well over fences and can be forgiven his recent efforts since landing a Listed race in France on debut.
He’s the highest-rated horse in the field and our pick to see off a number of rivals with questions to answer.
The current odds suggest this year’s Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle could well be a two-horse race between graded hurdle winner Capitaine and Colin Tizzard’s Finian’s Oscar.
It’s not quite a match bet but if it were we’d still side with the former given the form he showed in landing the Grade 2 Kennel Gate at Ascot last time out.
Tizzard’s mount won easily at Hereford on his previous appearance but that was against far lesser opposition and we fancy there’s more to come from our selection.
Needless to say, it’ll be a very good day for Nicholls should our NAP and NB both do the business.
You can make a case for a number of the familiar favourites set to line-up for this Veterans’ Handicap Chase and that’s what makes this contest so appealing.
Dual Grade 1 winner Dynaste is has leading claims but we’re prepared to take on the gallant grey and side with one further down the list instead.
Charlie Longsdon’s Loose Chips finished 38 lengths behind the re-opposing Rocky Creek last month but his form before that is pretty consistent.
In fact, his penultimate run resulted in a course and distance victory to qualify for this finale with Nicholls’ London National victor forced to settle for fourth place on that occasion.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing