Trainer Amy Murphy advised on Sunday that Kalashnikov would miss Saturday’s £160,000 BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham in favour of a £50k handicap at Newbury later in the month where her stable star would likely face a small field.
The sponsors are now betting each way 5 places on Saturday’s BetVictor Gold – the feature race of the three-day Cheltenham November meeting – and they are also offering Non Runner No Bet on the race from Monday’s five-day stage. Colin Tizzard’s Slate House remains the 5/1 market leader.
They go at Huntingdon today and Now Children (12.40) makes his hurdles debut for Dan and Harry Skelton in the colours of Paul and Clare Rooney having been a more than useful flat performer – rated 96 – for Clive Cox over middle-distances. The selection does have hurdle winners in his pedigree and if any of the forecast showers hit the track, that ought not be an inconvenience given he has won on soft ground on the level.
Blue N Yellow (1.10) is 5lbs better off with Master Vintage for the two-and-a-half lengths he was behind the latter at Market Rasen on his chase debut and he is taken to reverse the form at the revised terms. Jonathan Burke may have given the selection a bit too much to do at the Lincolnshire track but, as long as there is not significant rain, he is taken to go one better.
The most valuable race on the card is the 2m Handicap hurdle and there are at least three front-runners in the field with Brandon Castle, Sofia’s Rock and Highly Prized all likely to race prominently. The hope is they help set the race up for the lightly-raced 4-year-old Get Back Get Back (1.40).
The selection has yet to convince with his hurdling, but he is sure to have been extensively schooled by Harry Fry and he does look very well treated on the best of his flat form. He is the each way recommendation and BetVictor are betting each way four places on this 14-runner contest.
At Hereford No Comment has never fulfilled the potential he showed as a young horse – beat Monalee in a Bumper back in his native Ireland – but he is still only eight and a market move would be significant for his powerful connections.
Town Parks (3.00) ran a promising race on his reappearance at Stratford and gets the each way vote for Kerry Lee however. The 8-year-old won over C&D from a 2lbs higher mark as a novice and could be well treated at present with leading conditional Richard Patrick taking off a valuable 3lbs.
At Lingfield Joseph Hobson (12.50) can go one better than when runner up at Wincanton on debut for Tim Vaughan. The selection is by Dubawi out of a decent stayer and this polytrack surface should hold few terrors.
Cat Tiger (1.20) did us a favour seven days ago and can follow up despite dropping back in trip by a couple of furlongs. Jockey David Maxwell looks sure to make plenty of use of his mount and today’s forecast heavy ground ought to ensure it is enough of a stamina test for the Paul Nicholl’s’ trained five-year-old.
Cesar Collonges (2.50) reverts to timber on his seasonal reappearance for Evan Williams from a 5lbs lower mark than his chase rating and the hope is that he can take advantage of what looks an attractive mark on ground – heavy – that clearly suits before he returns to fences.
It won’t be easy for Tanrudy (3.20) shouldering 12st 2lbs in heavy ground, but he looked well ahead of his current mark when scoring at Market Rasen last week and the handicapper looks sure to put Nigel Hawke’s charge up by more than the 7lb penalty he carries this afternoon.