15:30 Newton Abbot Despite the fact that the flat season is still in full swing and continues to take centre stage, this Friday all three of our selections come over obstacles. The first of two picks from Newton Abbot sees us tackle a handicap hurdle where Jonjo O’Neill aims his charge Princess Tiana to make it three wins in its past four starts. Blinkers are applied to the five year old for the first time and with that likely to bring about a bit of improvement it’s deserving of its spot as the market leader. This being said however at 11/4 I feel there’s more value to be had elsewhere. The horse that gets the nod for me is the mount of Andrew Thornton Midnight Sapphire who returns to a venue she has been successful at previously. Tackling this longer distance for the first time holds some question marks for Victor Dartnall’s runner but after some lacklustre runs in its last two races the step up in trip might be the making of her and despite residing way down the betting it isn’t indicative of her chances. Midnight Sapphire (E/W)
16:40 Newton Abbot In the penultimate race on the card at Newton Abbot we’re greeted to a twelve runner field that includes two previous course and distance winners of which one of them is the selection. I’llhavealook has been victorious here before and has gone very close when placing in its last to runs. There’s no doubt that Katie Stephens runner will put in another good performance but at the age of eleven is likely to find one or two too good again today. The other course and distance victor is eight year old Dun Scaith. It ran well enough here last time out and holds a 50% strike rate over the course and distance. Promising amateur Patrick Cowley takes off a valuable five pounds and at a decent each way price it’s definitely worth punting. Dun Scaith (E/W)
18:35 Hexham We end our trio of jumps races by taking a trip to Hexham for a race on their evening card. Whenever top Irish trainer Gordon Elliot sends a runner over to these shores it has to be respected and the fact that Champion Jumps Jockey Richard Johnson takes the mount ensures that Urtheoneiwant demands a tonne of respect. The six year old hasn’t done all that much in its recent form but is found a less competitive race to go for and the current 6/1 price looks for too tasty an offer to ignore. Kamool and Ethelwyn are ultra consistent runners and pose the biggest threat to my selection however with their form looking good on a whole in their most recent efforts the handicapper may now just have a grip on both and minor money is perhaps the best they can hope for today. Urtheoneiwant (E/W if 9/2+)
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