There is a good card at Hereford this afternoon where the feature race is a valuable novices’ chase over the minimum trip.
Red Rookie was one of my horses to follow in novice chases this term and made an excellent reappearance when runner up at Chepstow, but he had jumped left at Ascot last time prior to coming down five out when still holding every chance.
He is too short in the market at 2/1 given what happened last time and he is reluctantly overlooked. The Emma Lavelle inmates have been running well in defeat of late, but few have been striking gold.
Call Me Lord was the best of these over hurdles and would be giving weight away all-round if this were a handicap. He jumped slightly out to his right at Uttoxeter on his chase debut and should appreciate today’s conditions, but he was a bit deliberate at his obstacles and preference is for Pure Bliss (2.15).
The mare – 7/2 with Boylesports – is entitled to come on for her chase debut when runner up at Exeter last month. A winner between the flags she certainly has the scope to jump a fence and I hope to see Sean Bowen make plenty of use of the mare who will get further in time.
They bet 7/1 the field with William Hill for the 3m 1f handicap chase and I hope to see a big run from Felton Bellevue (2.50) who has clearly improved for the transition to fences and can make it third time lucky having finished runner up in his two previous runs over fences.
The selection – 9/2 with – MansionBet – has been raised 3lbs for last month’s second at Market Rasen, but he is open to further improvement – albeit at a modest level. Ballybreen won the corresponding race when it was last staged two years ago, but he is 24lbs higher in the weights today.
I Spy A Diva (3.20) ran no sort of race at Stratford when last seen at the end of October but is best judged on her second on hurdles debut when runner up at Huntingdon. The mare – 2s with 10Bet – must brush up her jumping if she is to go one better this afternoon, but her dam acted well on soft ground, and she has been given plenty of time to get over what was ailing her last time.
At Newcastle Three Platoon has been put in at 6/4in the opening 2m handicap and that is surely too short for a horse who is not bred to appreciate such a stiff test of stamina.
Despite being worse off in the weights with Mukha Magic I hope to see Riggsby (3.00) reverse course form from November and build on his recent C&D success from a 3lbs lower mark. Julie Camacho is a dual-purpose trainer I have lots of time for and Graham Lee got a nice tune out of the selection – albeit in a slowly run race last time. He has more to offer on the level before he switches his attentions to the jumps – his dam won the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival. There was bigger available on Monday evening but the ew recommendation is 4s with 10Bet on Tuesday morning.