Indian Stream and The Organist ran very good races last spring in the mares’ hurdle at Cheltenham and are obvious contenders with the forecast rain likely to suit The Organist who could go well @ 8/1. On Demand bids to retain her crown after winning this race twelve months ago but is probably best on good ground while Fergal O’Brien has been in fine form lately and Wizard’s Sliabh should come on for her pipe-opener at Uttoxeter and is open to improvement. Ahead of her was Secret Door, another who can improve and with James Bowen’s claim has to have a big chance while Alan King saddles Tara View who improved throughout last season and is another to consider in a very competitive mares’ hurdle.
Sir Dancelalot heads the market but does not look a value bet @ 11/4 in what could be an unpredictable end of season sprint. Both his attempts at six furlongs this year have been well below what he is capable of and though the soft ground should bring his stamina into play, this looks quite on open race. Sainted, tipped up last time at Haydock when finding the heavy conditions too much, can be forgiven that run and remains a filly on the upgrade with William Haggas looking for some black type here. She could be value @ 12/1 along with Dream Of Dreams @ 8/1 who should enjoy six furlongs with a little give in the ground for Jim Crowley and Sir Michael Stoute. Andrew Balding’s Perfect Angel has her optimum conditions and though she has been a little inconsistent could go well @ 14/1. Danzeno is respected, as are veterans Maarek and Gordon Lord Byron while Flying Pursuits and Teruntum Star have looked improved performers of late but need more to win this.
Only three runners are declared in the Rising Star Novices’ Chase with Paul Nicholls having won this race six times in the last ten years. His entry is Modus, who’s jumping was not overly convincing at times and needs to improve on the performance at Bangor to justify his short price. It may be worth taking on the favourite with Kalondra @ 7/4, a winner at Sedgefield on chase debut in workmanlike fashion, he sets a fair standard on what little we have seen over fences while Valhalla has been less than convincing on both starts in October and is best watched.
Races for the fairer sex in November on soft ground can be a bit of a punters graveyard with strange results often thrown up. Vintage Folly has been lightly campaigned and ran well after a break in September at Yarmouth but did not build on her effort in the Musidora back in May. Having had another fifty two days since her last run it may be worth taking her on @ 15/8. Indulged is Quickened Clear’s highest rated horse in this race and is open to improvement but has looked in need of further and could lack the gears to win this. The consistent Empress Ali will enjoy conditions and should be thereabouts but could be susceptible to an improving or unexposed type. Behind Empress Ali at Haydock in September was the well related Time Chaser who found the heavy ground too testing, though has won on soft. She is open to improvement and can go well here along with Gracious Diana. She has obviously had problems, with a tongue strap being fitted on her latest start but there is no one better than John Gosden to deliver a filly in top condition and if those problems have been ironed out the 14/1 may be too big. Star Rock, Brief Visit and Melesina make up the field, though more is needed for any of these to figure.
Lough Derg Spirit has a somewhat in and out profile and can improve over hurdles before going chasing, but seems best when able to dominate and with Charbel in the field, that is unlikely. Zubayr represents Paul Nicholls and having performed respectably in tough handicaps last spring needs to find more to be competitive this time and was well held when falling in this race last year. London Prize and Flying Tiger should come into calculations and are open to improvement but the one of interest is Coeur De Lion. Alan King’s four year old, a half-brother to last month’s Cheltenham winner Thomas Campbell, has some fair juvenile form culminating in a good seventh in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham. Any rain will not hinder his chances and the 10/1 looks value.
The final big handicap of the flat season is headed by two progressive types in Royal Line and Dance The Dream. Royal Line, an extremely well bred three year old has done nothing wrong so far, running into hardened handicappers, Time To Study and Duke Of Bronte at Newbury and showed a good attitude battling on in soft ground. There should be more to come but whether the 7/1 is value or not remains to be seen. Dance The Dream has always been highly thought of by trainer Marcus Tregoning, finally winning a good handicap at Leicester last time. She can be competitive with Tyler Saunders taking seven pounds off her back. Saunter ran a cracker under a big weight at Newmarket and a reproduction of that run should see him on the premises while Towerlands Park is open to improvement after a belated seasonal debut at Newbury behind Century Dream. At 20/1 Niblawi can go well with conditions to suit, he looks well treated especially with Jack Osborn claiming seven pounds.
Paul Nicholls has a strong hand in the Badger Ales handicap with Present Man, a chaser of potential who is already a course winner, looking primed for this race after a novice hurdle win on his seasonal debut. The doubt would be the prospect of rain and this could hamper Present Man’s chances. Paul Nicholls’ other runner, Southfield Theatre had this race sewn up twelve months ago before falling at the last and his patchy jumping has stopped this talented nine year old from winning good races. Bet365 Gold Cup winner and tough front runner Henllan Harri should go well, though he may need to find a few more pounds improvement to be competitive with the 14/1 tempting. BetBright Chase one-two Pilgrim’s Bay and Double Shuffle are interesting contenders as is Fletcher’s Flyer who looks well weighted but has fitness to prove and needs to jump well to win this. If rain gets into the ground things could go in his favour given his ample stamina reserves. Vic De Touzaine will also relish rain and should be considered while at prices Tempestatefloresco, Relentless Dreamer and Fact Of The Matter can all go well.
Quickened Clear’s Best Bets:
Gracious Diana – 2.40 Doncaster – 1pt win @ 14/1
Coeur De Lion – 3.00 Wincanton – 1pt win @ 10/1