RACE PREVIEWS & TIPS (FRIDAY)

15:55 Doncaster This 2m7f novices chase sees a horse who has gone somewhat under the radar in the RSA Chase picture for the Paul Nicholls team. The horse in question is Aux Ptits Soins and this five runner contest looks the ideal chance for him to further enhance his reputation before a possible tilt at the 3-mile showpiece for novices at the festival. The horse already has a high profile victory over this sort of trip in the hurdling sphere after taking the 2015 Coral Cup at the Cheltenham festival, but he did not have the easiest transition to fences this year after a disappointing round of jumping cost him dearly on his debut over the larger obstacles. He was beaten by Drumlee Sunset that day over an inadequate 2m3f, but soon left that form well behind when storming to a smooth victory at Kelso last time out over today’s trip. In-form Rider Sean Bowen only enhances the case and he will take all the stopping here today so gets the confident nod. Alan King’s Kerrow would be the principle danger to the selection after a smart success at Taunton over today’s trip and like the selection that was only his second start over fences so not unreasonable to expect further progress so he should get involved in the shakeup, but he was a distance inferior to the selection over hurdles so up against it here with that rival off level weights. Nicky Henderson’s runners are always worth taking a second look at and premier bond is another with potential over fences. Second behind his talented stable mate Might Bite on chasing debut before relishing the step up in trip by romping to success at Catterick, but again has a bit to find with the selection. AUX PTITS SOINS (WIN)

17:45 Newcastle The very unique all weather track at Newcastle has brought up so many repeat winners since its switch to synthetic surface from grass a few years ago, so it is often wise to look for well treated horses with track experience and success in its locker. John Quinn’s four-year-old Safe Voyage arrives here without a penalty for a course and distance success six days ago in apprentice race so he looks very much the one to beat in this field. The talented rider Jason Hart takes over in the saddle and the son of Fast Company is significantly less exposed than most of today’s rivals so he gets the confident nod to get straight back in the winner’s enclosure again. The hat-trick seeking Custard the Dragon is the likely danger here as he looks to rattle up a quick treble, but that latest success over today’s trip was a career best for John Mackie’s gelding so he might find it tough to live with the selection especially given he has struggled on the track previously. An interesting contender is Ruth Carr’s Lexington Times who has ran to higher marks in the past and has came tumbling dow the weights recently. The five year old ran with credit off this mark last time out, but hasn’t put his head in front in an incredible 22 races. SAFE VOYAGE (WIN)

Written by Graeme Lafferty

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