The Ladbrokes Trophy takes centre stage at Newbury on Saturday and it looks as though the rain is going to arrive in time for Thomas Patrick to judge by the weather forecast.
I backed him ante-post straight after his seasonal debut effort behind Elegant Escape at Sandown this month, where he got tired in the closing stages.
The vibes from his trainer, Tom Lacey, were positive after his stable star enjoyed a racecourse gallop at Newbury last Tuesday and the six-year-old looked in great form.
Lacey has made it clear he needs soft ground and provided the rain does arrive before Saturday, I see no reason why he should not go close.
Anyway, here are four selections for Monday’s action. Best of luck.
Robinshill ran disappointingly when last of seven on his seasonal debut at Kempton in October but there is every reason to believe he can bounce back to form.
The seven-year-old was pulled up on his seasonal debut last season before unseating his rider at the last over course and distance with the race at his mercy.
He then went on to record back-to-back victories over course and distance before he was highly tried over fences.
As a consequence, he is now 2lb below his last winning mark and top amateur Zac Baker, who is two from three aboard Robinshill, takes a valuable 5lb off his back.
Jennie Candlish’s four-year-old shaped with promise when third on his seasonal debut at Bangor in October and opened his account over obstacles in a 2m1f handicap hurdle at Sedgefield this month.
He has an 8lb rise in the weights to deal with but that may not be enough to stop him following up here as he travelled well throughout the race and was well on top at the finish.
Richard Strauss looks the main danger on his return to hurdling after a successful spell on the flat, but a strong case cannot be made for the other runners and Outcrop should take all the beating if he reproduces his form from last time out.
Sister Sibyl ran an eye-catching race at Cheltenham on her seasonal debut when a fortuitous second behind Diakali in a class two novices’ chase in October.
Two miles would have been on the sharp side for her and the mare shaped as though a step back up in trip would suit.
Hughie Morrison’s seven-year-old was a game winner of a 2m4f novices’ handicap chase at Warwick on her final start last season and the runner-up has won twice since.
She looks feasibly treated off a rating of 127 and, with the likelihood of more to come this season, is the one to beat.
Officer Hoolihan, who has been supported in the betting, is an interesting runner having scored impressively on his seasonal debut last season but needs to bounce back to form.
This looks a competitive race on paper, but Plantagenet has gone close in his first two starts this season and looks capable of winning this contest with question marks surrounding most of his rivals.
The six-year-old has not got his head in front since recording a four-timer at Worcester in October 2017 but pulled clear with an in-form rival last time out when wearing cheekpieces for the first time, which he wears again, and a reproduction of that run will see him go close off a 2lb higher mark.
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