Racing Daily with BetVictor – Dec 20

The declarations were made yesterday for Saturday’s valuable Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle at Ascot and includes ante post favourite Harambe who was considered a doubt by trainer Alan King earlier in the week.

Umbrigado, French Crusader and Quoi de Neuf are 7/1 co favourites at BetVictor for the 16-runner handicap which promises to be an absolute cracker.

Less competitive is today’s opening Grade 2 Novices’ Chase which is a match between Nicky Henderson’s Angel’s Breath and Paul Nicholls’ Mont Des Avaloirs.

In the Maiden Hurdle winning Irish pointer It Sure Is (1.20) is taken to go one better than when runner up to the promising Oliver Sherwood novice Severano at Newbury on his British debut. The selection was a bit keen, but stayed on nicely in what is historically a good race at the Berkshire track and Henderson has won two of the last eight renewals of today’s race.

The Irish raider Debuchet (1.55) is a fascinating contender in the 2m novices handicap chase for Mags Mullins. The selection finished runner up in the Champion Bumper of 2017 but struggled to make much of an impact over hurdles. His chase debut at Fairyhouse last month, however, was more like it when he made all and jumped soundly – albeit out to his right on occasions. If he is in the same mood, he will be tough to beat although he has taken a hike back up the weights for that success.

Only four to post for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle trial but it is a fascinating race. McFabulous was one of the leading Bumper horses last season and is surely better than he showed on his hurdles debut when beaten at odds on at Chepstow. Master Debonair made all to win over today’s C&D impressively last time but he must give 3lbs to Ribble Valley (2.30) and the Nicky Richards-trained six-year-old – who is 6/5 with BetVictor – gets the vote.

The selection has won both his hurdles to date by an aggregate of 20L at Hexham and Wetherby but this is the acid test.

There is an inspection planned at 8am at Uttoxeter this morning but if racing gets the green light the Venetia Williams-trained One Style (1.45) is hard to oppose having made all to score at Hereford on Saturday over an extended three miles. He escapes a penalty for that win as it was a conditional jockey’s event and the selection would be 12lbs higher in the weights if the race were run 24 hours later. The drop back in trip should not be a problem.

Storm Wizard (2.55) can give the Williams yard a double although this inmate does carry a 7lbs impost for winning at Bangor-on-Dee last week. The handicapper has raised him 12lbs for that win – thus the selection is still 5lbs ahead of the handicapper.

Adrimel (3.30) has his tongue tied down for his Rules debut for Tom Lacey in the Bumper and a bold bid is expected for this winner of his sole Bumper. The horse who finished runner up in his Irish point – Firak – has run well in two starts for Dan Skelton without winning and the selection was an 8L winner of that point. Richard Johnson is booked for the ride and the gelding cost connections £280,000 at Goffs horses-in-training sales.

Callum Shepherd wasn’t hard on Amazing News (5.30) on his debut when fourth at Wolverhampton and he is taken to land the 7f Novice event back at Dunstall Park for George Scott. Note the trainer fitted his juvenile with a hood for debut, but the headgear is dispensed with this evening.

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