Chris Dixon's Notes And Angles: Aintree Hurdle tailor-made for Mcfabulous

By Chris Dixon@cdixon82
Tue 1 Dec 2020

Anyone who’s been filling their tracker with suggestions from these pages over recent weeks will have had a few pings into their inbox over the past few days and I’m hoping there’ll be a few winners to come from those that have been highlighted.

Without having a good look at the final fields and their prices I can’t say with confidence whether or not I think they’ll be worth backing, but a number of them appear to be entered up for races that look an ideal test.

Ludlow looks like a track that should suit Secret Court, who was in the process of running a very encouraging race prior to taking a tired fall at Leicester last time and so long as she doesn’t get too far back should go well on Wednesday.

I’m less sure Lingfield is ideal for Tipperary Jack who has gained his previous wins at Kempton but his draw is better than last time he ran here and there is a possibility of a pace burn-up. That would suit him so I’ll give him a second look but his price will need to be fairly generous if I’m to be tempted in.

Later in the week the likes of Big Difference and Killer Clown are entered in races that should suit, but will also be fairly competitive, while on Sunday Bigirononhiship holds an entry for the Borders National at Kelso, a race that looked the obvious next target for him after a very encouraging return at Ayr (watch above) and he looks an interesting runner with his yard remaining in good form.

Fair Star – Brian Ellison

Fair Star faced a tough task from his position turning into the straight at Wolverhampton on Tuesday and did extremely well to go down by just a short head having been held up in a steadily-run race.

The winner of a bumper prior to winning twice on the All-Weather at Wolverhampton earlier in the year, he looked certain to improve on his handicap debut as he took a step up in trip but the run of the race didn’t allow him to show the sort of improvement a more strongly run event will.

A 2lb rise for that narrow defeat is unlikely to stop this well bred son of Sea The Stars going one better soon, with his pedigree as well as his form suggesting he’s going to rate higher than his current mark. Clearly very effective at Wolverhampton, he’d be of interest there next time though Newcastle with its longer straight and uphill finish would probably also suit very well.

Duc De Bourbon – Paul Nicholls

Making ground from the back of the field is often a struggle at Taunton and I thought Duc De Bourbon ran an encouraging race when trying to do exactly that on Thursday.

In a race won by Runswick Bay, who had previously been second to Friday’s impressive Newbury winner Bravemansgame, he sat a good way back early on before moving into the race well prior to seeing his effort peter out late on.

A faller at Fakenham on his previous start, his jumping was still a bit novicey but he’s stabled in the right postcode for that to be improved upon and he looks like a horse who’ll be of interest once handicapping further down the line.

Musical Slave – Phillip Hobbs

Musical Slave made a litany of errors on his way around Newbury on his seasonal return on Friday but still managed to stick on well for fifth spot in what looked a competitive handicap.

His jumping hadn’t looked an issue previously so it’s hoped that this was a one off, though easier jumping tests than Newbury might still be preferable if backing him next time. A strong stayer who handles testing ground well and was second over 3m at Uttoxeter last spring, he should be well up to winning races off his current mark, especially when back up in trip.

Mcfabulous – Paul Nicholls

I usually confine the tracker horses on this page to those who’ll be of interest in handicap company but I’m putting Mcfabulous forward as a horse to keep onside at the highest level over hurdles this term.

Very impressive when winning on his return at Chepstow last month, he progressed again in defeat when third in a very strong renewal of the Long Distance Hurdle, despite appearing to be found wanting for stamina.

It will be interesting to see how he’s campaigned from this point on but I expect his end game to be the Aintree Hurdle, a race in which I suspect he’d have an excellent chance.

### Every excuse

I thought Editeur Du Gite had shaped very nicely on his seasonal return at Ascot so it could go down as a disappointment that he was unable to progress from that at Newbury on Friday.

Strong in the market and sent off 3-1 favourite, Editeur De Gite again impressed with the way he jumped but ultimately dropped away to finish fifth.

It appeared that he’d probably done too much out in front and I expect him to get back on track soon and prove himself well treated, especially if he turned up at a track like Sandown or Kempton that I expect would suit him very well.

### Angle to note

Picking up a smaller trainer who is having a good run can be a profitable angle and with that in mind I’ve been taking a second look at all runners from the Mark Usher stable of late. Liberty Bay’s win at Kempton on Monday was a fifth of the month (at a strike rate of 21%) for the yard and they have a few reasonably treated horses that could mean there’s further winners, potentially at nice prices, in December.

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