Paul Ferguson has one selection for us on Friday; Lake View Lad in the Hexham 15:35. Compare odds and bet.
Cheltenham stages a cracking card on day one of the Open meeting, with the Steel Plate And Sections Novices’ Chase arguably the pick of the action.
Former World Hurdle winner More Of That heads the market, but he clearly has questions to answer so it looks more of a watching brief. The novices’ hurdle is equally intriguing with Penglai Pavilion impressing at the track last month, but he faces a stiff task in giving weight away to Champers On Ice and Shantou Village. The latter is a horse I have plenty of time for and is an exciting long-term prospect, but I’m not sure he is quite ready for a test of this nature at this stage – I hope he proves me wrong on that score.
Up at Hexham, Nick Alexander is a trainer to note given his current run of form and his Gold Opera is of interest in what looks quite a competitive little novices’ handicap chase. He ought to relish the ground and could outrun his odds, but his best chance on the card looks to be Lake View Lad (3:35) in the bumper, who was available at Evs overnight.
The five-year-old cost £70,000 on the back of a hugely encouraging third at the Punchestown Festival, where he shaped with an abundance of promise behind two exciting prospects. A reproduction of that effort ought to make him very difficult to beat in most northern bumpers.
3:35 Hexham: Lake View Lad; evens Ladbrokes
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