Thursday, 25 November 2021

Friday 26th & Saturday 27th November 2021: Fighting Fifth to Be a Royal Encounter

On a busy weekend of horse racing action, the ever-popular Paisley Park looks to win again in Friday’s Long Distance Hurdle.

He has a battle on his hands with Thomas Darby, Lisnagar Oscar and Indefatigable in the line-up so we’ll be leaving that one alone, though we do have seven other value bets to go through across two brilliant days.

Friday 26th November 2021

12.40 Newbury (The Berkshire Novices’ Chase – Grade 2) – PIC D’ORHY

There are just the four runners for this 2½-mile Grade 2 novice chase, but there is still some value to be had.

The likely favourite is Alex Hales’ Millers Bank after his easy chase debut win at Aintree at odds of 80/1. That was a good performance, as was the success of Tea Clipper on his first chase start at Chepstow although he has to carry 7lbs more, but I feel Paul Nicholls’ runner Pic D’Orhy has been overlooked by a few.

True, he’s already had five goes over fences, but after a slow start, a bit of hurdling and some time off, he is a different prospect now and proved it with an impressive win at Ffos Las last month.

He made all that day against three rivals to win easily and there is no doubt that he has more to come.

12.55 Lingfield (Handicap) – ENFRANCHISE

The consistent Trevolli and Bearwith will be popular in the market and both have strong place chances, but the hope is that their presence simply allows us to grab a tasty price about Mark Johnston’s Enfranchise.

The three-year-old is having only her fourth start in this race, with her win at Pontefract on good to firm ground holding up very well in the context of the other form on offer here, especially at the weights.

She was sent off favourite for a decent race at Newcastle last time but seemed to get rather tired on the Tapeta in trying to lead the field, but with that experience behind her and on this quicker surface, she may be able to bounce out from stall 2, hit the front and be very hard to catch.

Saturday 27th November 2021

2.25 Newbury (Intermediate Handicap Hurdle – Listed Race) – CAPTAIN MORGS

Nicky Henderson’s Captain Morgs may have had a touch of luck last week when rival Garry Clermont veered at the last flight allowing him a simple path through to victory at Ascot. For his part, he did win the race with very little fuss and that visual impression is backed up by the fact that he is being turned out again quickly.

A close look at the form of his seven hurdle races to date reveals a nice pattern. The five-year-old appears to be a horse with lots more to give from this point and he certainly has the speed to kick on where it counts at the business end of a race.

He, in what is yet another small field, may well be able to make that speed count and has certainly been undervalued and overpriced given that there are only four horses going for this prize.

Soaring Glory is topweight and likely favourite for Jonjo O’Neill, he’s also the main rival to the selection, with Onemorefortheroad fancied to see of Gowel Road at the back.

3.00 Newbury (Ladbrokes Trophy Handicap Chase – Grade 3) – EKLAT DE RIRE

It looks like a cracking renewal of the Ladbrokes Trophy, this hugely valuable 3¼-mile chase throwing together 21 high-class runners including last year’s winner Cloth Cap.

Jonjo O’Neill’s very smart stayer is once again fancied to go well after a decent prep run at Cheltenham, while there has been a ton of money during the week for the Cheveley Park runner Ontheropes, trained by Willie Mullins.

That horse has form with Monkfish and is obviously smart, however there may have been a right old plot organised here with Eklat De Rire and he is taken to win.

Henry De Bromhead is about as a good a jumps trainer as you are likely to see, while jockey Rachael Blackmore is having the time of her life in the saddle.

As for the horse; he’s an improver anyway but also won last time out when finishing tired at Wexford, something he’s been given more than four weeks to recover from. His form stands up to scrutiny and he’s not done yet, he jumps well and basically has no obvious weaknesses given the better ground and his handicap mark.

3.15 Newcastle (Fighting Fifth Hurdle – Grade 1) – SCEAU ROYAL

On the face of it, this race is all about last year’s winner and 2020 Champion Hurdle heroine Epatante. She remains high class of course and she gets 7lbs from the boys, but she’ll need to be at her absolute best I feel and that is not guaranteed.

Instead of even thinking about backing her at a short price, the value really is in Sceau Royal for the Alan King yard.

On the forecast good ground (it’s cold and dry in Newcastle this week), he may have the ideal conditions to prove that he’s a Grade 1 type over hurdles.

A good chaser, he returned to the smaller obstacles to win a Listed race at Kempton before taking the Grade 2 Elite Hurdle easily last time and he definitely has what it takes. Monmiral was the other on the shortlist.

5.00 Wolverhampton (Nursery Handicap) – AL JADDAF

We’re taking in a little bit of Tapeta action at Wolverhampton on Saturday evening too, as Godolphin and Charlie Appleby show no signs of wanting their amazing year to end prematurely.

They have Al Jaddaf in this extended one-mile nursery, who after a gelding operation can properly get back to business.

He looked the type in August and September to get up to a mark in the mid to high 80’s before disappointing, but now he’s had his mind put firmly on racing he can make his actual rating of 78 look generous.

Ammolite is a danger, as are Park Street and Superior Force.

5.30 Wolverhampton (Novice Stakes) – DARAKAH

This one is a little chancier, but if going off at 3/1 or above there may be some value in Charlie Hills’ debutant.

Darakah is a very well-bred filly of Shadwell’s and is sure to have a decent amount of ability. The point here is that those with experience forecast to be near the top of the betting do not set a high standard at all, meaning it won’t take much to win the race.

It would be disappointing if she didn’t go well on her racecourse bow, with fellow newcomer Misscall also in the mix.

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