12.10pm - Coral Bet Bundles 'National Hunt' Maiden Hurdle (2m)
Nicky Henderson has a laudable record in this contest, with the Seven Barrows chief seeking to win for the sixth time in nine years as he sends out JET POWERED in the Donnelly colours. He won his only Irish point-to-point last December and was picked up afterwards by these connections for 350,000gns. He has undergone a wind op ahead of this first outing on a UK racecourse and he could be hard to stop in a race used for Jonbon's hurdles bow 12 months ago.
It's proving an excellent spell for connections of Ittack Blue as the likes of Hitman and Hermes Allen have excelled themselves and this new recruit to Dan Skelton has a very similar profile to the Henderson horse, winning his sole point in Ireland before changing hands for 310,000gns.
Seleciton: Jet Powered
Next Best: Ittack Blue
12.45pm - Coral Racing Club Novices' Limited Handicap Chase (2m½f)
Balco Coastal had some pleasing hurdles form last season, two wins and second in a Ballymore Trial at Cheltenham in January before concluding with a fine third behind Langer Dan off a mark of 134 in a Grade 3 Aintree handicap in April. He won first time out last season for Nicky Henderson and is a threat to all on his chasing bow despite his big weight.
Soaring Glory likes it here, he won the Betfair Hurdle over C&D in 2021 and showed rock-solid form last season over sticks for Jonjo O'Neill. He, too, won first time out last term.
Despite the fact that pair should acquit themselves well on comeback, FRERE D'ARMES can put experience and fitness to use for Dan and Harry Skelton. His jumping was excellent at Kempton recently in a winning chase debut and while this is a stronger race, the third from that contest hosed up back at Kempton on Monday and there could be plenty more to come from this promising 5YO over fences.
Selection: Frere D'armes
Next Best: Balco Coastal
1.20pm - Coral Get Closer To The Action Novices' Hurdle (2m4½f)
Nicky Henderson has lots of contenders on this card and Russian Ruler could be another here. The Warwick bumper winner was third in a Doncaster novice on hurdles bow in January before tackling the Grade 2 Dovecote at Kempton on second start (finished fifth). There's likely improvement in him this season.
Dan Skelton's Heezer Geezer was second in an Aintree novice last month on his opening hurdles test and should improve for that run, while I'd Like To Know won on heavy ground at Worcester four weeks ago for Chris Gordon and should have more to come, albeit conceding 6lb now.
STAY AWAY FAY had a host of subsequent point winners in behind in his successful bow between the flags last December. New connections forked out £305,000 for this promising Shantou gelding and he's now in the safe hands of champion trainer Paul Nicholls. He's very much one to look out for on rules bow.
Selection: Stay Away Fay
Next Best: Heezer Geezer
1.55pm - Coral Racing Club Novices' Chase (Grade 2, 2m4f)
Just five runners (one more than last year's highly eventful renewal) but an intriguing contest. Beauport did the job nicely at Carlisle in the Listed Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase last month - though he was getting a chunk of weight from runner-up Millers Bank and the form has been knocked since.
He's got more to come for Nigel Twiston-Davies, while Camprond unshipped Aidan Coleman too soon at Exeter 11 days ago for any meaningful judgements to be made.
Sebastopol is exposed but a useful sort on a going day, while Wonderwall was promising both in bumpers and over hurdles. He retains potential but is being handed a tough first-up assignment as a chaser.
STAGE STAR got a glowing report from Paul Nicholls following his winning start at Warwick over fences this month when he easily dispatched three rivals on his first start after wind surgery. There should be plenty more to come and he's the one to beat now.
Selection: Stage Star
Next Best: Beauport
2.30pm - Coral Bet Bundles Handicap Chase (2m4f)
An open contest. Caribean Boy needs a close look in the market on his seasonal comeback for Nicky Henderson. He won the Grade 2 on this card over C&D as a novice in 2020 and is on a fair mark for his return.
Paint The Dream (Fergal O'Brien), Killer Clown (Emma Lavelle) and Numitor (Heather Main) all have reason to recommend them but BEAKSTOWN is lurking at the foot of the weights for Team Skelton.
He finished fourth in Aintree's Old Roan Chase in his comeback last month, form well-advertised since, and is lurking on a decent mark for what is a drop in class with that run behind him.
Next Best: Numitor
3.05pm - Coral Long Distance Hurdle (Grade 2, 3m)
Paisley Park won this in 2019 but has managed only second and third in the two runnings since, last year behind re-opposing Thomas Darby. Emma Lavelle's stable star has become enigmatic now, something that can also be labelled at Champ, with the Nicky Henderson inmate really impressive on his comeback in the Long Walk at Ascot last December when foiling Thyme Hill, before getting turned over by Paisley Park in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January and finishing fourth in the Stayers' in March - again behind Paisley Park in third. It didn't happen for him at Aintree, either, and like his fellow ten-year-old, there are more questions than answers despite the talent lurking in them.
The aforementioned Thomas Darby was swatted aside by PROSCHEMA in this grade at Wetherby last month and, even allowing for a 6lb pull, Olly Murphy's charge may once more be playing second fiddle to the Skelton gelding. That was a career-best from him and, with such doubts over the classy pair at the top of the racecard, this seven-year-old has a great chance to make more hay.
Next Best: Paisley Park
3.40pm - Coral Committed To Safer Gambling Handicap Hurdle (3m)
SHEARER notched wins at Worcester and Cheltenham in October and marked himself down as a stayer on the up in doing so. He was well fancied back in the Cotswolds a fortnight ago off this mark only to be badly hampered before unseating Adrian Heskin through no fault of their own. He could gain compensation now. His stablemate Barbados Buck's has undergone a wind op since we saw him last and the handicapper has offered him respect, while Angus Cheleda takes a very useful 5lb off in the saddle.
Next Best: Barbados Buck's
12.15pm - Play Coral 'Racing-Super-Series' For Free Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Listed, 2m)
As with the opener on Friday, the name of NJ Henderson stands out as he sends out LUCCIA on her hurdles bow here. A daughter of The Gurkha, she won two bumpers last season and won them in good style, latterly a Listed event on soft ground at Sandown by 17 lengths. She rates a fine prospect now heading over hurdles.
She's not the only unbeaten contender, with Carole's Pass scoring over C&D earlier in the month to make it a bumper and two hurdles wins for Amy Murphy, while Letterston Lady and Poetic Music are other plausible rivals for the Henderson filly.
Next Best: Carole's Pass
12.45pm - Coral John Francome Novices' Chase (Grade 2, 2m7½f)
Thyme Hill was the best of these over hurdles, being a Grade 1-winning stayer, and he made a good start to his chasing career at Exeter (3m, good) when seeing off one other finisher. He didn't always jump with fluency and he's likely going to need to do better now.
He might be worth taking on with MCFABULOUS, himself a winner at Exeter (2m3f, good) 12 days ago for the champion trainer. His jumping was excellent there, despite the nagging attentions of the loose Camprond early on, and he's proven to stay this trip. His stablemate Gelino Bello isn't dismissed completely, though Mortlach surely will require accidents is he is to prevail.
Next Best: Thyme Hill
1.20pm - Sir Peter O'Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase (2m6½f)
This trip is surely going to be a bit sharp for Kitty's Light - who will probably have staying targets as the season wears on - and might instead see her stablemate CAP DU NORD going well for Christian Williams.
He also stays further but was fifth in this contest in 2019 and won it in 2020. Allowing for Ellis Collier's 7lb claim in the saddle, Cap Du Nord is effectively back on a winning mark and finishing third behind Frodon at Wincanton recently was a big step forward from his seasonal bow at Chepstow.
Dublin Four has a good record around here, including a success over C&D, and might have added to his tally in April on his most recent course visit had he not tipped up late on. Fergal O'Brien's charge made a good return when second at Wetherby last month over shorter and is in the mix back here.
Selection: Cap Du Nord
Next Best: Dublin Four
1.55pm - Coral Racing Club Handicap Hurdle (2m4½f)
LORD BADDESLEY shaped well behind Knappers Hill in his comeback at Chepstow early last month and confirmed the impression he'd have more to come when running out a stylish winner next time at Plumpton over this trip. He did that in ready fashion and Chris Gordon's 7YO could defy the attentions of the assessor by adding to his tally here.
Fergal O'Brien's Peking Rose and the Ian Williams-trained Malakahna are other last-time-out hurdles winners in the field, while bottom-weight Imphal is in good tune of late though has risen up in the ratings as such and faces a challenge coming back in trip.
Current Mood's comeback third at Ffos Las over as a similar trip last month has been handsomely advertised since and the Evan Williams-trained runner is a possible danger from an unchanged mark.
Selection: Lord Baddesley
Next Best: Current Mood
2.30pm - Coral Bet Bundles Intermediate Handicap Hurdle (2m)
Theatre Glory will likely start favourite for this having won 4-5 over hurdles, including her last three and the only defeat coming against progressive Elle Est Belle at this track a year ago. She won first time out last term at Huntingdon but does have bit more on her plate now, with Nicky Henderson opting for 7lb claimer Nathan Brennan today (has won on the mare before).
Seven Barrows stablemate First Street also lacks a recent run, though his County Hurdle second to State Man looks well in light of that rival winning a Grade 1 in Ireland on Sunday and planting himself in the Champion Hurdle discussion.
The other six contenders have all finished either first or second last time out, so this is a strong contest, with Pikar (Dan Skelton) and Yorksea (Gary Moore) considered, but GRIVETANA might be the way to go for Paul Nicholls. She finished second behind Herbiers over C&D in her comeback recently and is likely on the sort of mark from which she can be very effective.
Next Best: Theatre Glory
3.05pm - Coral Gold Cup Handicap Chase (3m2f)
Fiddlerontheroof finished best to be second in this race a year ago. Joe Tizzard's inmate is rated 5lb higher now but gets a pair of first-time cheekpieces applied in a contest that will have been ringed on the calendar for some time.
Threeunderthrufive is very tempting for Paul Nicholls following a pleasing reappearance over hurdles. He's a safe jumper and will surely relish this move up in trip.
The likes of Corach Rambler, Remastered and Busselton are shortlisted too but OUR POWER won last month's London Gold Cup at Ascot (3m, good) from 5lb lower despite trainer Sam Thomas wondering if he'd be fit enough to do so.
There were some reservations regarding stamina too, but he really powered through the line and may be better suited to this distance now than when fifth behind Corach Rambler in the Ultima at Cheltenham last season. He's a few pounds better off with that old foe now as well and there could be more to come.
Selection: Our Power
Next Best: Threeunderthrufive
3.40pm - Coral Get Closer To The Action Handicap Chase (2m½f)
AMARILLO SKY was perhaps given the run of the race at Cheltenham a fortnight ago, but nonetheless, Joe Tizzard's inmate won there with some authority and a mere 4lb rise in the weights might struggle to contain him if in a similar mood now.
Monsieur Lecoq could be a threat but didn't get beyond the second obstacle last time at Ascot, while veteran Bun Doran isn't one to dismiss completely on seasonal return as he's on his last winning mark.
Only Money has won 4-9 over fences and saw his quest for three on the trot ended in a good contest at Aintree (2m, soft) this month after stylish wins at Plumpton and Worcester. He raced a bit keenly in that outing and could have more in his locker if Tom Cannon can get him to settle better.
Selection: Amarillo Sky
Next Best: Only Money
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