Kelso Morebattle Hurdle Day Preview
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Kelso Morebattle Hurdle Day Preview

It's a big afternoon in the season for Kelso racecourse on Saturday as the Borders venue stages their Morebattle Hurdle card. A seven-race card in Scotland runs from 1.00pm-4.25pm and also includes the Grade 2 Premier Novices' Hurdle and the Listed bet365 Premier Chase and the Racing Post previews all of Saturday's action.


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1.00 - bet365 Juvenile Hurdle (2m)

The standard in this opener is set by Genuflex for the Milton Harris team. He was a fair sort on the Flat for Richard Hannon and scored on second start for this handler when taking a maiden hurdle at Sedgefield (2m1f, good) in October past.

The best of his efforts from four runs since would make him hard to beat today, but consistency hasn't been his strong trait. He was pulled up at Warwick last month following a wind op and this frontrunner has something to prove.

Ultra Violet and Johnny Boom must improve to feature at the finish, while jumping newcomer Lightning Company is one to be monitoring closely but a chance is given to CUBAN CIGAR.

Another former Richard Hannon inmate, he was runner-up over timber at Kempton (2m, soft) and Plumpton (2m, good) in January and ran as odds of 66/1 suggested he might on debut for Lucinda Russell in the Victor Ludorum at Haydock last month. His sights are lowered now and he can make the most of the 6lb he's getting from the forecast market leader.

Selection: Cuban Cigar

Next Best: Lightning Company

 

1.32 - bet365 Premier Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2, 2m2f)

Richmond Lake is favourite here but he's already been beaten this season by NORTH LODGE and, despite the latter carrying a Grade 2 penalty now, Donald McCain's runner is only 1lb better off than for that defeat at Aintree in December.

North Lodge was having his first start that afternoon on Merseyside and did the job well over 2m1f on soft ground before turning up at Cheltenham on Trials Day in January to win a Ballymore Trial over an extended two-and-a-half-miles.

His case there was aided by the unfortunate departure of Hillcrest early on, but he still took care of 130-rated Nicky Henderson runner Balco Coastal in good style.

He can take another step forward in landing his second Grade 2 win of the year for Alan King.

Richmond Lake is a clear danger under Brian Hughes. After that defeat at Aintree he easily won a novice at Sedgefield (long odds-on) and has since run a creditable second to leading Supreme Novices' Hurdle contender Jonbon at Haydock in January, briefly getting that smart sort under pressure in the home straight before succumbing.

Datsalrightgino is surely better than he showed in the Tolworth at Sandown in January and could rebound, but a bigger threat may come from Dan Skelton's unbeaten Sholokjack.

A Leicester maiden winner in December, he barely came off the bridle in his follow-up win in a Wetherby novice in January and, while stepping up in trip/class now, it's hard to ascertain what more there is to come from him yet.

Selection: North Lodge

Next Best: Sholokjack

Manchester Derby Preview - Danny Mills

Manchester Derby Preview - Danny Mills

2.05 - bet365 Handicap Hurdle (2m5f)

Top-weight Wilde About Oscar was well beaten off in valuable races at Aintree and Cheltenham to begin this season and, after a wind op, shaped with only a little more promise at Huntingdon (2m3½f, soft) last month for Dan and Harry Skelton.

The handicapper has dropped him 4lb and that certainly helps, while first-time cheekpieces go on now, but he's got to raise his game nonetheless.

An Ayr novice winner in November and placed here the following month, FAMOUS BRIDGE was sent off odds-on to make a winning handicap debut over this C&D last month for Nicky Richards and Brian Hughes after seemingly getting a lenient opening mark of 117.

He may well have collected too, had he not fluffed his lines two out and ejected the champion jockey-elect from his seat. If they get it right at the obstacles now, compensation may await.

At a decent price, Kaizer is worth some each-way consideration for Ewan Whillans. He's been building steadily this season and ran out a very easy winner over 3m2f here at that same meeting in February. The Nathaniel gelding is a course regular and tends to give his best around her more often than not.

Selection: Famous Bridge

Next Best: Kaizer

 

2.40 - bet365 Premier Chase (Listed, 2m7½f)

There's no doubting that WINDSOR AVENUE was a fortunate winner at Doncaster last time, with eventual second Storm Control moving like the best horse and simply taking up the running and going for home too soon.

That said, Brian Ellison's charge stuck to his task after being headed and he was carrying plenty weight compared to the second, while they drew a long way clear of everything else.

There are no stamina doubts for him here and, while yet to win off a mark this high, Sean Quinlan's partner is very capable of a big run under a prominent ride again.

The likes of Dingo Dollar and Itchy Feet have the ability to land a race such as this, though there are stamina concerns that need to be addressed.

Espoir De Romay is the chief threat to all. Kim Bailey's runner was disappointing on his seasonal reappearance at Carlisle in October behind Fiddlerontheroof in third, and has been off since.

His form last season was progressive and he looked like getting the better of Chantry House in an Aintree Grade 1 novice in April before coming down at the last. He's still low-mileage over fences and shouldn't be dismissed in any haste.

Selection: Windsor Avenue

Next Best: Espoir De Romay

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Premier League Preview And Predictions - Saturday

3.15 - bet365 Morebattle Hurdle (Handicap, 2m)

A sprinkle of stardust on the Morebattle as two-time Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D'air turns up here for Nicky Henderson. We haven't seen him yet this season and he's without a win since May 2019, though he's only raced three times since then.

He was twice second in graded contests at Newcastle and Haydock last season before finishing fourth at Aintree in the spring over 2m4f in their Grade 1. He has top-weight of 11st 12lb to carry here, giving upwards of 6lb all round but is the proven class act, even if he is now an 11-year-old.

Harry Fry's Metier is rivalling him atop the betting after landing a valuable handicap at Lingfield in January. He's 7lb higher for this assignment and any falling rain will aid his cause.

Balko Saint returns to hurdling with a decent chance as an each-way prospect for Jane Williams, while Jessica Harrington's Autumn Evening ran a cracker (third) at the Dublin Racing Festival last month and may hope to build on that despite a 9lb higher rating here.

CORMIER and Severance finished first and second at Cheltenham (2m1f, good) on Trials Day in January and will have eyes on going well again now.

The Brian Ellison-trained winner is actually 1lb better off now and that Cotswolds race has thrown up a couple of next-time-out winners. At six, Cormier still has time very much on his side and he should give a good account.

Selection: Cormier

Next Best: Metier

 

3.43 - bet365 Cyril Alexander Memorial Novices' Limited Handicap Chase (2m1f)

HARDY DU SEUIL has won twice over fences this season already for Jamie Snowden and his Haydock second behind progressive Minella Drama last time was another step forward, essentially.

Ultimately he was no match for the winner but his jumping held up well in Grade 2 company and he was well clear of the third by the line. He returns to handicapping company now and, off 135, might be too good for this field despite top-weight.

Donald McCain's hat-trick seeker Heartbreak Kid must be on the shortlist having shown a willing attitude most recently at Uttoxeter. Things have clearly been going well him this season but the assessor has reacted now and he finds himself in tougher company too.

Dino Velvet came back from a break to win at Uttoxeter on chasing bow in July and posted figures afterwards of 322322, Alan King's runner is on the shortlist again back from a mid-season rest.

Seemorelights has been in good form at Ayr in recent months and is another deemed capable, though Hardy Du Seuil looks the one to be with.

Selection: Hardy Du Seuil

Next Best: Dino Velvet

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Livingston v Celtic Preview And Predictions - Scottish Premiership Week 30

4.25 - bet365 Handicap Chase (2m1f)

The Big Jetaway won at Sedgefield just over three weeks ago for Donald McCain and Brian Hughes after being well-supported in the betting and he clearly has scope for better things as a chaser judged on that opening gambit. A 5lb rise looks fair and connections will anticipate another bold showing.

Lastin' Memories was behind in fourth that day, having previously been second behind today's rival Six One Nine only eight days earlier at Newcastle. The latter finds himself up 8lb in the ratings for that win in the north-east a month ago but should give a solid account.

Hat-trick seeking Wheelbahri is another to hold solid claims in the finale, a tough get-out stakes for punters, but HERE WE HAVE IT just earns the call for trainer Laura Morgan.

He was behind Wheelbahri at Catterick in early February on what just his second start over fences but has since opened his account with a determined late charge at Leicester (2m, soft) under this rider and there could be more to come from him as a chaser.

Selection: Here We Have It

Next Best: The Big Jetaway

 

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