• Thu 29 Jun, 2017
  • 15:38 BST
  • 11:38 EST (BST-4)
  • 17:38 CEST (BST+2)

Brave Spartacus 8/15 @ Catterick

Paul Ferguson has one selection for us on Thursday; Brave Spartacus in the catterick 3.15. Compare odds and bet.

It’s North Yorkshire Grand National day on Thursdayat Catterick and the feature looks a wide-open 15-runner affair and is best watched, along with an interesting 2m novices’ hurdle, which could be the race of the day.

Later on the card Brave Spartacus (3:15) should be hard to beat under a 7lb penalty in the 2m novices’ handicap chase for Keith and James Reveley. The seven-year-old was an impressive winner here in December on his third start over fences and would have followed up at Sedgefield (when selected here) six days later, but for crashing out at the final fence.

He got back to winning ways here on New Year’s Day when scoring by 21 lengths and is due to go up a further 8lbs for future events. The selection, who clearly loves this track, was trading at 8/13 with Hills overnight and I expect he’ll go off shorter.

If backing novice chasers at odds on isn’t your thing, it maybe a good day to strike a bet on Saturday’s feature handicap, the Listed William Hill Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton.

Regular readers of my column will know I’m a big fan of Bears Affair and have been for a long while, but off 152 the ante-post favourite faces a very tall order here. Next in the betting is Black Thunder who has been placed on both starts this term, off 6lbs lower. He ran on all too late at Haydock last time and will need to hold his position better at the weekend.

The unexposed pairing Dursey Sound and Un Bon P’Tit Gars come next at 10/1, with the former improving all the time and the latter not having been seen since October. His form doesn’t amount to much but looked a nice long-term prospect when last seen, while the form of Jonjo O’Neill’s charge was given a significant boost when Easter Day ran well in the Challow Hurdle over Christmas.

O’Neill of course saddled the winner that day in Taquin Du Seuil, who he had earlier stated is clearly his number one novice. Given that Dursey Sound has been handed a mark of 139, he might not be particularly well treated (in his trainer’s opinion), but you can see him travelling in to the race and going well.

The one I like at this stage is the so-called Nicky Henderson second string Oscara Dara who looks reasonably treated on a mark of 140 and can be backed at 12/1 with Bet Victor, Stan James or the sponsor’s William Hill.

A winner at the Punchestown Festival and also at Sandown on his debut over hurdles, the eight-year-old has fine form racing right-handed, having earlier chased home the highly-regarded Mono Man in an Ascot bumper in February 2011.

Fourth behind stable-mates Darlan and Captain Conan (both impressive winners this season) on his only other start over timber, the step up in trip could bring about significant improvement. He has long given me the impression a step up in trip would suit and soft ground won’t bother him either.

The one worry is that he was obviously being aimed down the novice chase route this season and went close against Cantlow (winner again this week) on his fencing bow recently. He holds an entry in a novice chase at Huntingdon tomorrow, so wait until late morning and see if he is declared before backing him for the Lanzarote.

If he’s not declared, it is likely that his connections think this is too good an opportunity to turn down and I’d expect him to line up. If he does turn up, he shouldn’t be trading at double-figure odds given his form and the fact he remains completely unexposed, especially over this sort of trip.

Thursday’s selection:
3:15 Catterick Brave Spartacus (8/15 Paddy Power)
Ante-Post (Lanzarote Hurdle, Saturday) Oscara Dara (12/1)

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Last Year’s Book Results – Leading Prospects:

  • SPRINTER SACRE – Unbeaten – winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
  • SIMONSIG – Winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
  • CINDERS AND ASHES – 10/1 winner of Supreme Novices Hurdle
  • BOBS WORTH – 9/2 winner of the RSA Chase
  • MENORAH & SILVINIACO CONTI – Both Aintree Winners
  • SIR DES CHAMPS – Unbeaten inc 3/1 Jewson Cheltenham Winner
  • FINGAL BAY – Won 4 times inc Challow Hurdle
  • RAYA STAR – 10/3 winner at Wetherby, 12/1 Ladbroke Hurdle winner, 15/2 Scottish Champion Hurdle winner
  • AMBION WOOD – 14/1 EBF Final Sandown winner
  • CHAMPION COURT – 6/1 G2 Dipper Novices Chase winner
  • PALACE JESTER – 14/1 winner at FFos Las
  • SWINCOMBE FLAME – Hat-trick winner inc Lanzarote Hurdle at 9/2
  • TEAFOR THREE – 5/1 NH Cheltenham Chase winner (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)

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