1:45 Virgin Bet Handicap Hurdle
The top weight Sayar came close to pulling off a big upset last time out over this course after been ridden closer to the front that day and reverting to hurdles after a couple of underwhelming attempts over fences.
Hyrdoplane is coming off the back of winning a Jumpers’ bumper with relative ease at Lingfield a few weeks ago for trainer Ian Williams. He was also impressive in his handicap hurdle win at Market Rasen but this race is more competitive and a further improvement is likely needed but the 5 year old certainly has his chances.
Lively Citizen is certainly on the improve having won by a head in a Novices’ Handicap hurdle at Cheltenham and following that win up with a more than credible 2nd place at the same venue in December. He has gone up 2lbs since that run and looks a lively prospect.
2.20 Virgin Bet Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
The drying ground may be of slight concern for Rayna’s World. She had run well at Haydock over Christmas in listed event but was no match for her competitors when stepped up to graded level here at Doncaster at the end of January. A solid 4th place at Sandown on heavy ground was encouraging to see however.
The lightly raced Alpha Carinae jumped right-handed in her last race at Warwick in November. The good ground should suit her and if she gets her jumping back up in order, she has every chance of making a challenge in this race.
Trainer, Alan King, saddles Wynn House who ran well when taking on some good sorts in a Cheltenham Grade 2 Novices’ Hurdle in December. She is a consistent mare and likely to run a big race now stepping back to listed mares’ company.
2.55 Virgin Bet Handicap Chase
Just the 7 runners going to post but this still looks a very competitive race with plenty in with chances. Rikoboy was an impressive 10 length winner at Market Rasen in December and was a close 2nd At Musselburgh on soft ground in his last start. He has gone up in the weights but 129 seems a feasible mark for a horse looking to be going the right way over fences.
Getaway Trump has been hit and miss as of late. Maybe the step back down to 2 miles on good ground will help his chances as well as being back down to a mark of 140 and Lorcan Williams taking off 3lbs. He is not the most straight forward of horses but certainly has the quality to be competitive here.
Zoffee has had a decent chasing career so far. He tends to run prominent. He finished a length behind Getaway Trump last time they met at Warwick. He is still young and there would be no surprise if could reverse that form and go one better for Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson.
3.30 Virgin Bet Grimthorpe Handicap Chase
Canelo who holds an entry in the Aintree Grand National looks a solid prospect here in the Grimthorpe Chase. The stamina test should not be an issue here and he has shown plenty of ability already winning a nice graded race at Wetherby over the Christmas.
Chidswell won this race last year by an impressive 9 lengths on good ground. He may have ran a little disappointing on a few occasions since but showed that he still has plenty of ability, running a very credible 3rd also around here in January.
Bewarethebear also hold a Grand National entry. His last win came in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham festival in 2019. There it no doubt he stays the trip here but has not proven himself to be back to his best on his last two outings.
4.05 Virgin Bet Free Bets For Winners Handicap Hurdle
Skandiburg switches back to hurdles for new trainer Jamie Snowden. A repeat of his run at Cheltenham n New Year’s Day would see him go close. He is tongue tied for the first time and a mark of 138 is surmountable if back to best form.
Hijack did not run his true race last time out but has every chance in bouncing back to last years good form providing he stays the 3 mile trip. He should be running well off a mark of 129 but whether he will handle the drying ground is still unknown.
Small Present won for the first time by a head last time out at Catterick. The horse is up 6lbs in the weights but this trip seems to suit and looks a consistent horse with who has scope to improve.
4.40 Virgin Bet Novices’ Hurdle
Kildimo went very close to winning last time out at Fakenham and the form of that race has not worked out too bad either. This does not seem the hardest of Novice Hurdles to win and could be good opportunity for him to grab his first victory.
Buzz De Turcoing may have had excuses last time out at Ascot. His win at Haydock in December looked smart beating Tom And Frayed by 3.5 lengths and that form has recently been franked. He has every opportunity of winning but did hang to his left last time out.
5.15 Virgin Bet Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race
Datsalrightgino has finished in the places three times now from three starts but this looks like a good opportunity for Jamie Snowden’s horse to get his first bumper win. He was a bit unlucky in running last time out at Lingfield and should improve for that run.
Party Business ran a good third at Newcastle and should improve for that run but the winner of that bumper Punxsutaney Phil looked smart and could very well make it 2 from 2 for trainer Brian Ellison.
Socks Off won a Lingfield bumper last month and is open to further improvement. Richard Johnson booked to ride is a notable bonus to his chances.