The weekend’s feature event comes from Newbury in the shape of the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle and there’s a JP McManus runner who is likely to be all the rage.
McManus is an owner that seems to target the Grade 1 Challow at Newbury having won the race with the likes of Captain Cutter, Backspin and perhaps most famously Wichita Lineman.
On that theme, the Irish owner appears to have an excellent chance of winning this year’s renewal with the exciting Champ.
The six-year-old is unlucky not to be unbeaten over obstacles, only losing out by a neck in January at Ascot.
However, he’s been mightily impressive in three starts since and justified significant market support over course and distance last time out. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the in-form Nicky Henderson drops him straight in at the deep end here.
That effort can be upgraded when considering the son of King’s Theatre was very keen early in the race, refusing to settle and pulling hard.
The form has already been boosted with the fourth in the contest coming out and winning a Listed event. It means from an official rating of 150, he’s expected to be hard to beat in this field.
The main danger in the race could be Getaway Trump who arrives bidding for a hat-trick. He was impressive when winning a competitive event at Exeter by five lengths last time and could represent a bit of value at around 7/1.
Over at Southwell on Saturday, Fenjal looks like a fascinating contender in the opener.
The son of Kodiac put up a much-improved effort when winning the race in the stewards’ room here last time, a Fibresand debut, and he’s expected to be hard to beat in a follow up bid with more improvement expected to come.
With more entries on the cards, Hugo Palmer’s runner could be one to follow at this venue throughout the winter.
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