C4 Racing: Elliott’s Layla Joan can stay unbeaten over hurdles
Everything may be already gearing towards the Cheltenham Festival but that doesn’t stop the horse racing action coming thick and fast with seven televised races from the courses at Newbury and Doncaster.
Our news team previews all the action which can be watched live on Channel 4 and Ladbrokes TV.
Brackloon High under the guidance Richard Johnson could be the one to beat after a spirited battle staying on in third behind Upswing over course and distance three weeks ago.
The Brendan Powell trained horse is running off the same mark as he was that time and must be fancied to get into the winners’enclosure.
Alan King’s charge Frizzo could be a danger and should be better off after having a couple of runs, while Who Owns Me could show some progress after being risen 10lb in the weights after his Wetherby win a month ago.
Layla Joan makes a step-up in class against the likes of Grade 3 winner Toubeera, Cannon Fodder, Mayfair Music and Land of Vic.
But Gordon Elliott’s unbeaten hurdler, who has Paul Carberry in the saddle, looks an improving sort and should prove tough to beat.
In what looks like a competitive Veterans’ Handicap Chase, Carruthers looks to have an excellent chance adding another victory to his record from top weight.
Mark Bradstock’s charge ran a very impressive race in a Grade 3 contest at Warwick on his reappearance and a similar run should be enough to lead the field home.
Course and distance winner Pete The Feat, Pigeon Island for the Twiston-Davies combination and Tullamore Dew are the dangers.
Simply Ned scored over course and distance last time out but a 7lb rise could prove the undoing of the top weight in this bid to claim a second win from six starts this season.
That could leave the door open for the Alan King-trained Turn Over Sivola who could finally break his duck over fences at the fifth attempt.
Robert Thornton takes the reins once again onboard a charge who’s often fared better on firmer ground although there are still other contenders to consider in this open affair.
Swift Arrow has proven to a decent enough chaser with trainer Donald McCain hoping his eight-year-old can secure a second victory from four outings.
There are concerns over whether the eight-year-old will appreciate the Yorkshire venue’s right-handed galloping track though, an issue which may not deter previous course winner Lucky Landing.
Tiqris looks a strong contender for the Phillip Hobbs and Richard Johnson combination in the Ladbrokes Supporting Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.
He was second in a Listed contest at Exeter last month while he was also a easy winner at Wetherby and still looks well treated by the handicapper.
But there are obvious dangers with Bodega, ridden by AP McCoy, Roman Flight and Seventh Sky all coming into the contest in decent form.
Grand National preparations are in full swing for the likes of Monbeg Dude and Godsmejudge and the next stage is a run in the Grimthorpe Chase.
Monbeg Dude looks to be developing into an impressive sort after winning a Grade 3 handicap at Cheltenham in December, while last year’s Scottish National winner Godsmejudge has had a quiet season so far.
Court By Surprise looks a contender after some impressive runs in competitive staying handicaps this season but he did not fare so well in this last year when pulled up.
Paul Nicholls has a double assault on the Grade 3 Greatwood Gold Cup with Rebel Rebellion and Ulck Du Lin going for glory.
And the booking of Noel Fehily to ride the latter could be a pointer to which of the Nicholls-trained horses to follow.
Elsewhere Venetia Williams is also double-handed with Shangani and Elnika but with the trainers’ winning streak drying up of late it may be best to look elsewhere.
Dashing George was a winner at Fakenham last month but this looks a much tougher contest and Tara Rose has been out of form in her recent runs.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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