The three-day November Meeting at Cheltenham begins on Friday with a classy six-race card running from 13:10-16:05.
I've taken a liking to two - including one who looks particularly well-handicapped for the finale.
13:45 - Triple Trade @ 9/2
Joe Tizzard has started the 2023/24 National Hunt season in fantastic form. As I write this on Thursday morning, he's operating at a 24% strike rate with six wins - including Elixir De Nutz' success in the Haldon Gold Cup - from 25 runners.
I think he's got a great chance of adding another to the tally at HQ on Friday, courtesy of Triple Trade in this 0-150 handicap chase over two miles.
The seven-year-old failed to complete in his first three starts over fences last season but was progressive over the spring, winning a couple of events at Kempton and Wincanton in good fashion to close out his campaign.
He then made a superb seasonal reappearance over course and distance, at The Showcase Meeting last month, finishing a staying-on second to Henry De Bromhead's Dancing On My Own.
That's strong form, and I think the selection - who's been raised a solitary pound - is better than the official margin as he was ridden cold and can be marked up given the amount of ground he made up in the home straight.
Tizzard reckons he wants soft ground and has said he'll be ridden closer to the pace here, now they know he's up to this level. I'm expecting another big run.
16:05 - Impose Toi @ 11/4
Backing the relatively short-priced favourite for an 18-runner, 0-125 novices' handicap hurdle wouldn't be my usual style, but I'm convinced Impose Toi is one of the best-handicapped horses in the UK.
The five-year-old was sent to Nicky Henderson at Seven Barrows from France in October last year and made his debut at Ludlow over 2m5f, on deep ground, a few months later. He did a lot wrong that day but ultimately was only just touched off by the then 119-rated Egbert.
It's hard to draw any conclusions from the non-event he won in a canter next time out, but the form of his subsequent second to Harry Derham's Brentford Hope at Huntingdon looks very strong.
The latter, off a mark of 122, won a handicap hurdle at Newbury earlier this month by an emphatic 16L - and Angel's Dream, who was a whopping 32L behind Impose Toi at Huntingdon, was triumphant on his next start.
It was another poor race the selection won at the end of last season, but he could hardly have won it any easier. He now goes handicapping, off a mark of just 121, with "unfinished business" according to Mr. Henderson.
That looks lenient, and it's very interesting that this is Nico De Boinville's only ride on the card. It looks an average race too, so it's fair to say I'll be pretty disappointed if we're not onto a winner.
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