Seeyouatmidnight’s Veterans’ Chase success at Sandown on Saturday ensured a good start to 2021 – 20/1 on Friday but backed into 10/1 – but it was Metier who impressed me most with the ease of his Tolworth Hurdle success. Harry Fry’s exciting young novice looks the main danger to Willie Mullins Appreciate It in the Supreme at Cheltenham in March. Metier is 7/1 for the Festival curtain raiser and he certainly looks the best of British.

Fakenham stage a seven-race card today and I’m So Busy (12.25) drops back to the minimum trip having travelled well but failed to pick up at Uttoxeter over an additional half mile on his British debut back in November. His subsequent six-week absence from the track suggests something was amiss especially when you consider he was a fast finishing second over 2m 4f at Down Royal on his last start for Jessica Harrington. I expect Sam Twiston-Davies to make plenty of use of the grey who is 3s with BetVictor.

Zee Man is interesting on his chase debut and first start for Olly Murphy but the vote in the 2m 5f Novice Handicap Chase goes to Sabbathical (12.55) who has the scope for the larger obstacles and was badly interfered with by a faller at Ffos Las on his chase debut. The hope is that his confidence has not been affected although he did finish last of the ten finishers in south Wales. He gets the ew vote – 9/2 with 10bet – in a race that will not take much winning.

Lleyton is a short price for the 1m 6f handicap at Wolverhampton but I am still kicking myself for not recommending My Girl Maggie (5.20) last time when she was a facile winner over 12f, and I hope to see her defy a 6lbs rise. I think the step up in trip will see her in an even better light. Richard Kingscote keeps the ride and the filly has been backed from 10/3 into 5/2 with Boylesports.

Mark Johnston trains the selection, and his conditional jockey Oliver Stammers has been in the plate for Lleyton’s two recent wins. He is still well treated despite carrying a 4lbs penalty for his latest C&D success.

At Lingfield the grey Noble Queen (12.10) has only had five career starts and scored over a mile at Chelmsford on her penultimate start. The mare – 2s with William Hill – never got competitive dropped back to 7f at Kempton last time but finished her race off well and today’s additional furlong will certainly suit.  

Gold Standard and Anispotera are in the form of their lives and the latter will be a tough nut to crack in the two-mile handicap, but Nebuchadnezzar (1.40) gets the vote for Alan King stepping up to this trip for the first time on the level. The each way selection – 11/1 with William Hill – ran well for a long time here over 12f last time in a better race and he has won over this two-mile trip over timber. Note the selection is into 9/2 at the time of posting    

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