Racing Daily with BetVictor – Dec 18

One horse I am looking forward to seeing run this weekend is Nicky Richards’ Ribble Valley who is 5/4 (from 7/4) with BetVictor for Friday’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle trial at Ascot. The six-year-old has won both starts over timber so far this season and was hugely impressive when scoring at Wetherby last time. He will receive 3lbs from Colin Tizzard’s Master Debonair (11/4 at BetVictor) but is rated 6lbs superior to that potential rival by the BHA handicapper.

They go at Newbury this afternoon and there is an excellent maiden hurdle with several decent ex-flat horses having their first start over timber. They are taking on a couple of decent Bumper winners, however, with Nicky Henderson’s Shishkin (12.50) getting the vote ahead of Tom George’s Enemy Coast Ahead.

Henderson has saddled the winner of this corresponding race for the last couple of years and winning pointer Shishkin easily landed the odds at Kempton back in March on his first start for the yard. That was not the strongest race for the track, but he made all in the manner of a very talented horse.

Indeed, Enemy Coast Ahead may have achieved more when scoring at Stratford in March, but I am slightly concerned with the form of the stable. It promises to be a most informative race.

Magic Of Light comes across the Irish Sea for Jessica Harrington and gave Drinks Interval 4lbs and an 8L beating in the corresponding Mares’ Listed Chase 12 months ago. The 8-year-old did, of course, go on to chase home the mighty Tiger Roll in the Grand National back in the spring and has already had a pipe-opener over timber last month. She cannot be opposed.

The Big Breakaway (2.25) looked another top-class recruit to the Tizzard yard when scoring at Chepstow on his hurdles debut and he gets the vote in the two-and-a-half-mile novices’ hurdle despite having to give 6lbs to Papa Tango Charly who rates a big danger.

The selection won his sole point in Ireland and only had to be pushed out to score by 8L in Wales. The runner up has since filled the same position, so the form is nothing special, but he gets the vote ahead of the Jonjo O’Neill trained runner who finished second to Igor at Ascot on his hurdles debut. Papa Tango Charly will win races over timber, but we may not see him at his very best until he tackles fences.

There is a valuable Beginners Chase at Ludlow and I was disappointed with the chase debut of Olly Murphy’s Garrettstown although this step up in trip will certainly see him in a better light. A market move would be worth noting. The vote, however, goes to Henderson’s Burrows Edge (1.00) whose both hurdle wins came going right-handed, has gone well fresh in the past and was placed in his two points in his native Ireland.

Hatcher (2.05) has been raised 6lbs for his recent C&D success but his bold jumping will always be a big asset and he is taken to defy the rise in the 2m handicap chase.

Shetland Bus (3.10) escapes a penalty for his win in a Musselburgh conditional jockey’s event last week and will be rated 5lbs higher from Saturday. That win was over 2m 4f and today’s additional furlong will certainly help a horse who battled back having been headed last time.

At Lingfield I expect to see Disco Fever (12.40) leave her Kempton debut run well behind in the 7f novice. The selection lost her race at the start and appeared to hang left as she came into the home turn. The suggestion is that she will know more from the lids this afternoon and today’s left-hand track ought to suit this daughter of Oasis Dream who cost connections 260,000 gns as a yearling.

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