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Chirico trusted at Newbury

Chirico trusted at Newbury

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Something irks me when it comes to backing horses that are reverting from chasing to hurdles, or vice-versa, and expecting them to show the same level of form.

Watch enough racing and you’ll routinely encounter the seemingly well-handicapped sort that has been going well in one discipline and then pitches up to take advantage of a perceived good mark at what is, essentially, a different game.

It can work out of course, but personal experience says that opposing is often best and that will be the case in the four-runner Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (13:15) at Newbury on Saturday.

Remiluc returns to chasing, seemingly 12lb ‘well in’ based on his recent efforts over hurdles. He’s 0-2 over fences though and hasn’t jumped one in public since Boxing Day 2016, when he was pulled up at Kempton.

While it would be harsh to suggest he didn’t show some promise in his two previous outings, it is entirely fair so surmise that he has to prove his rating is favourable. He’s set to be the 7/4 favourite here and is opposed.

From a punters perspective, we can often grab value when a horse changing code is over bet to do so successfully by opposing them and we’ll do that now with Chirico Vallis at what appears a fair price of 9/4.

He’s won two of three starts this term since going chasing, essentially not beating a lot but doing so both times with plenty in hand. He fell in between times at Ludlow – as novices’ do – but he showed no ill effects and has won well at Bangor since, so he learned from his mistake.

Neil Mulholland’s charge may well need to step up on those efforts but he appears to be on an upward curve and, as a horse that once cost an eye-watering €355,000, he’s entitled to be good enough for this.

Later on the card Wuff looks worth a bet in the Mandarin Handicap Chase (14:25) for trainer Tom George and Adrian Heskin.

He’s trading at 6/1 and holds fairly solid claims in this field. Wuff has finished second twice in three runs around Newbury and is proven on testing ground. He’s also rated just 3lb higher than when scoring at Ffos Las in March.

Adding to confidence, he ran a fine second on his reappearance at Bangor last month when chasing home the well-regarded and well-handicapped Forest Des Aigles and should now be primed to give this a real go.

The Challow Novices’ Hurdle (15:00) is the final Grade 1 contest of 2017 and it looks worth siding with the mare Dame Rose to oblige at 3/1 for trainer Richard Hobson and in-form Harry Skelton.

She gets a useful 7lb from the boys here and can take advantage of what certainly isn’t a strong Grade One.

A winner on debut over timber, she was then beaten at Newbury by Cap Soleil. On that occasion, Dame Rose was simply too keen out in front.

Next time, again at Newbury, she was more economical and comfortably reversed the form. Assuming she settles for Skelton now, she can improve again over this longer trip and take the prize away.

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Enda McElhinney Our racing expert, Enda studies cards in both England and Ireland on a daily basis and knows all the details you need to know when trying to select a winner. He is also a regular football writer and has strong knowledge of the Scottish game, with golf another specialised sport on his CV.