The feature card this week takes us to Wincanton racecourse in Somerset. It’s a meeting historically dominated by Paul Nicholls, in fact if you backed all of his runners blind since 2008 you’d have a record of 31/85 36.47% +36.24pts.
He will be hoping for another successful Saturday. Especially with the inaugural memorial race for his friend Richard Barber taking place on the card at 1:50.
In respect to Nicholls’ record at the meeting, there is a common theme for the selections in the preview this week!
12:40 Frome Scaffolding Group EBF Stallions ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle 1m7f
Paul Nicholls has won 4/5 of the last renewals of this race, with Grand Sandy (2018), Capitaine (2016), Marracudja (2015), Urubu Dirlande (2014).
Flic Ou Voyou comes here for a second run over hurdles after finishing 2nd at Chepstow LTO. He can improve from that run to upset the odds on favourite here.
TO WIN: FLIC OU VOYOU @ 2/1 with GIVEMEBET
13:50 Richard Barber Memorial Mares’ Handicap Hurdle 2m5f
Danse Idol looks like she’s been laid out for this race. She’s 1/1 over course and distance and gets her preferred ground conditions, being 2/4, 3 places on good ground. Being the Memorial Race for Richard Barber, it’s a race that you will imagine Nicholls will be wanting to win.
14:25 John Romans Park Homes ‘Rising Stars’ Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) 2m4f
Nicholls sends mare If You Say Run to this race where he has a 6/11 (3 places) record in the last 11 years. Winning it in 2017 with Modus, Frodon (2016), Southfield Theatre (2014), Wonderful Charm (2013), Silviniaco Conti (2011) and Breedsbreeze (2008).
If You Say Run comes here after a very impressive victory last time out at Worcester, where she beat a Novice Chase field by 5 lengths. In a race that Nicholls likes, she can continue her progression here.
15:00 Unibet Elite Hurdle (Grade 2) 1m7f
Fusil Raffles is a hot odds on favourite for Nicky Henderson here. While he looked very impressive over the course of his two runs last season, juveniles stepping into open company as 4 year olds typically struggle after their first hurdling season. At an odds on price he’s one that I’d be avoiding.
Grand Sancy loves the track here, being 2/4 with 4 places and 2/3 at the track over the 1m7f distance. He’s never managed to win at Grade 1 level but is a definite Grade 2 calibre horse. At the prices he represents value against Fusil Raffles.
15:35 Badger Beers Silver Trophy Handicap Chase (Listed) 3m1f
Present Man has won this race for the last two years for the combination of Paul Nicholls and Bryony Frost, but lines you higher in the handicap this year and without Frosts’ claim. I’ll be opposing him.
White Moon for Colin Tizzard looks to be a horse with a lot of upside running off a handicap mark of 145. He’s gone up 5lbs following a fall last time out after running an impressive race at this track. You’d have to trust that he’s recovered from the fall but the 5lb rise wouldn’t concern me too much. He’s by Sholokhov whose progeny just keep improving for fences (see Don Cossack) and I feel that White Moon could be a mid to high 150s horse by the end of this season.