Newbury's only Grade 1 card of the season survives the frost and looks to offer a good mix for the Placepot.
"...it’s entirely plausible that one will beat standard-setter Vyta du Roc. It’s a lot harder to imagine two getting past him"
12:30 - In some ways an incoming French juvenile, in this case Top Notch, is just what we need here. It means that Mick Jazz, who came clear with two useful types here at the Hennessy meeting, isn't favourite. He arguably travelled best that day and has some experience from France to call on, too, so is an altogether solid banker in leg one.
13:05 - Phone Home requires far less guesswork than most, the only caveat being that the cheekpieces that helped him finish second over C&D last time will need to work again. Not that they shouldn't, as he usually gives something like his running. Ballyheigue Bay also goes in. This is a world away from his somewhat opportunistic win at Fontwell on what was his chasing debut, though if he can jump and travel with the same relish in front here he won't be far away.
13:35 - Highland Lodge clearly deserves respect in this company, though he's always a dicey Placepot selection, especially after a couple of hard races already this winter. Ziga Boy is a sound alternative, essentially progressive this winter and up a totally fair 9 lb for winning a similarly strong race at Wincanton last time. Knockandrawley has already built up a consistent profile over fences and gets our second slot.
14:10 - There's a lot of potential in Challow and it's entirely plausible that one will beat standard-setter Vyta du Roc. It's a lot harder to imagine two getting past him, so he is our banker in the race, his profile suggesting he's a tough and reliable novice.
14:45 - We can only really rule out Seventh Sky, and even that is at a push as he's handicapped to win even a decent race like this. So Far West, Royal Regatta and Fayette County all make it in.
15:15 - After that forced splurge we really need a banker in leg six. It's not favourite Morito du Berlais, but Singelfarmpayment, who has looked straightforward up to now and enters handicaps on a good mark based on his run in what's historically a good novice at Chepstow earlier this month.
12:30 - 4
13:05 - 3, 7
13:35 - 2, 3
14:10 - 6
14:45 - 1, 2, 3
15:15 - 9
= 12 lines