Despite being the only maiden in the line-up EL MUQBIL (2:10) is fancied to land the Dubai Duty Free Full Of Surprises Handicap at Newbury this afternoon.
Brian Meehan’s colt moved like the best horse in each of his last two races and, off a potentially lenient mark of 87, he is worth another chance as he may have strengthened up significantly over the winter.
The feature on the opening day of the Scottish Grand National meeting at Ayr, the valuable Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase, can go the way of NIKOS EXTRA (3:25).
Alan King’s charge was an under-achiever over fences last term, when he should have won at this fixture over 3m1f.
His fencing cost him that day and he fell on his seasonal bow at Wetherby, but he got his act together at Haydock last time when returning from a lengthy lay-off.
2m4f on good ground is ideal for the seven-year-old and the 10lb rise in the handicap shouldn’t be enough to stop him now things have clicked into place.
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Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase