There's a competitive card at Newbury on Hennessy day, and that is where we head for Saturday's crack at the Placepot...
12:20- Irish raider Carrigmoorna Rock sets the standard in this opening event, but she comes up against a number of rivals open to plenty of progress in this sphere, and we will side with this unexposed duo of A Doll In Milan and Avispa. A Doll In Milan comes from a successful family and she looked a decent prospect herself when bolting up on her debut under Rules at Lingfield. There is a lot more to come. We will also turn to Avispa as she showed ability in bumpers last season, signing off with a win in a listed contest at Aintree, and she is entitled to improve on an encouraging effort at Uttoxeter.
12:50- Tara Road won with plenty in hand back over fences at Ffos Las last time and he is likely to give a good account here, despite having gone up plenty in the weights. The in-form, progressive Tara Road looks a relatively solid proposition, but the fact there's only two places on offer makes things a bit tricky, so we will also add chasing debutant Royal Regatta as he could be fairly treated and represents a stable firing on all cylinders.
13:20- This is competitive stuff but Bobcatbilly shaped much better than the bare result at Exeter, looking as if his stamina was stretched, and he should benefit from dropping back to 22 furlongs. The suspicion is that we have yet to see everything that Bobcatbilly has to offer over fences and he can show himself to be well handicapped. We will also add Midnight Appeal for a bit of insurance, though, as he arrives in good heart having gone close at Haydock and he too may be suited by stepping down in distance.
13:50- Exitas couldn't complete the four-timer in the Greatwood Hurdle, but he still shaped as if operating at the top of his game, and he can get back to winning ways here. Exitas raced towards the unfavoured inside at Cheltenham, so deserves extra credit, and this isn't quite so stiff a task as the one he faced in the Greatwood. We will bank on the thriving Exitas finishing in the first three.
14:25- All eyes will be on World Hurdle winner More of That - who was crowned Timeform's Horse of The Year last season - and he ought to extend his unbeaten record if returning anywhere near his best. He is sure to be carrying plenty of lines, however, and faces some talented, race-fit rivals, so it is worth including Cole Harden just in case. Cole Harden is a most likeable type, effective when the ground is testing, and he should serve up a decent challenge from the front.
15:00- It's not hard to see the case for Djakadam as he could be potentially thrown-in from a BHA mark of 142. He does have questions to answer, however, chiefly on grounds of experience and stamina, so he could be worth opposing from a Placepot perspective. Smad Place hasn't got much experience over fences, but he has run a number of big races over hurdles and looks to have everything in his favour, the ground nor trip likely to prove a problem. The Druids Nephew has been a reformed character since joining Neil Mulholland and he looks fairly treated, allowed to race off the same mark as when a good second to Sam Winner at Cheltenham last time. A proven stayer, The Druids Nephew is likely to be on the premises and looks a good addition to the Placepot.
12:20- 1, 3
12:50- 4, 5
13:20- 2, 7
14:25- 1, 2
15:00- 5, 14
= 32 lines