The November Handicap is the last big race of the 2018 flat turf season and 23 will go to post for Saturday’s Doncaster feature. There is plenty of rain forecast for South Yorkshire on Friday and the ground is likely to be no better than good to soft come post time.
Modest fare for a Friday, but we may have a star on show courtesy of Kalashnikov (2.00) who makes his chase debut for Amy Murphy and Jack Quinlan at Warwick this afternoon. Last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle runner up is already 5/1 favourite at BetVictor for the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham in the spring – such is his reputation and scope for the larger obstacles. The five-year-old only faces three rivals this afternoon, but they should all be winning races in time although it would be a disappointment it was this afternoon.
If the ground is no worse than good to soft I feel Too Much Too Soon (3.35) can go one better than when runner up at Carlisle from a 4lbs lower mark last month. The selection was a facile winner on good to soft ground here back in May and there might be more to come from the Skelton runner.
Brian Ellison’s Windsor Avenue (1.05 Hexham) won both Bumpers last season and is entitled to improve for his hurdles debut when going down by less than 2l to a highly-touted Nigel Twiston-Davies novice (Al Dancer). The selection steps up in trip this afternoon and could be smart despite losing his unbeaten record over rules on his reappearance.
Anything that Charlie Hammond rides is worth a second glance and it will be interesting to see if there is money for Irish raider Hitchcock in the 2m Handicap Hurdle. I was surprised to see Minella Fiveo (2.45) jump out to the right at Southwell last time given his wining form is going left-handed, but I feel he is well handicapped at present and can give his young conditional – Kane Yeoman – a good spin. Significant rain would be a plus.
Corner Creek did us a favour when scoring at Southwell last month, but he might be best caught fresh and preference is for Attention Please (3.15) who ran well when runner up for the yard of Rose Dobbin at Ayr last time. I feel the stable are on the brink of hitting top form.
I liked the way Molly Childers (1.50) jumped at Bangor on debut and she gets the nod in Fontwell’s Mares’ Beginners’ Chase although she won’t have things all her own way with Charlie Longsdon’s Jet Set making her chase debut.
The selection was no match for Dandy Man in north Wales, but the winner has subsequently followed up in a decent handicap off a mark of 132 (now rated 140) and I feel Molly Childers would not be inconvenienced if the rain arrives in Sussex.
Jet Star is a winning pointer who is another exciting recruit to the chasing ranks and she will be winning her fair share of races although I just favour the Stuart Edmunds mare this afternoon.
Shambra ran a race full of promise on her reappearance but she has yet to prove she stays 2m 4f and preference is for Secret Door (2.20) who failed to stay at Newton Abbot on bad ground last time but represents the inform Harry Fry stable. The selection is just 1lb below her last winning mark and significant rain would not be a concern.