The International Meeting at Cheltenham concludes on Saturday, while there is also graded action from Doncaster. Read on to see who our experts fancy at these two left-handed tracks.
Side with progressive Song For Someone in International Hurdle
Song For Someone is an improving type, and therefore appeals most in the extended 2m Grade 2 International Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday (15:00). Trained by Tom Symonds, who is having a fine season, this five-year-old landed the Coral Hurdle at Ascot last time out.
Although penalised for that win over further, Song For Someone also took the Kingwell Hurdle on his final start o last term. This is by far his toughest race to date, but he is proven in the grade and less exposed than many rivals. Ante post favourite Goshen didn’t exactly set the world alight in runs on the Flat, so could be worth taking on.
While Silver Streak is a respected rival, following no luck whatsoever in the Fighting Fifth, Song For Someone is on an upward curve. He therefore appeals most at 6/1 with BetVictor for International Hurdle success in a race where you can make a case for several.
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Ask A Honey Bee worth another go in Bristol
In the 3m Grade 2 Bristol Novices’ Hurdle earlier on the card (14:25), Ask A Honey Bee looks worth siding with now stepped up in trip again. Unlucky not to overhaul Getaround in the final strides of The French Furze over 2m 6f at Newcastle, this Albert Bartlett trial might be just up his street.
All of the good bumper form Ask A Honey Bee recorded came on soft ground. With further rain for Cheltenham forecast, that is the likely going. He also had the beating of re-opposing rival Ashtown Lad off the same terms at Wetherby.
Taking all that into account, and the fine form of his trainer Fergal O’Brien, Ask A Honey Bee is worth one more chance here. His stable is local to the track and a further stamina test should suit. Ask A Honey Bee is 11/2 with Betfred to gone better than at Newcastle here.
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Adagio appeals in Triumph Hurdle Trial
In the 2m Triumph Hurdle Trial which opens day two of the International Meeting (12:05), Adagio can resume winning ways. He ran a gallant second to Duffle Coat in a Grade 2 at this venue last month for trainer David Pipe, and this race looks easier.
There are some unexposed rivals here, notably Dan Skelton recruit Shake A Leg who had form behind subsequent St Leger winner Galileo Chrome at Navan when trained in Ireland. Unlike Elham Valley who heads the weights, Adagio has been given time to get over his more recent outing, whereas this might come too soon for last week’s Sandown winner.
Before joining Pipe, this horse won on heavy over in France so should handle a softer surface just fine. Adagio therefore appeals most of the Triumph Hurdle trialists on show at 7/4 with William Hill, and looks another who can go one better than his previous outing.
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Zanza can follow-up on Newbury success
In the extended 2m handicap chase (13:15), Zanza caught the eye when winning at Newbury last time out and brings solid form into an albeit more competitive class 2 contest. Trained by Philip Hobbs, this six-year-old has progressed with each start of the season.
After finishing fourth behind subsequent Arkle Trial victor Eldorado Allen, Zanza chased home Allmankind at Warwick. Although beaten 12 lengths and no match for the winner, that one has gone on to land the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown. That gives the form a very good look.
Zanza got on the scoresheet himself at the Winter Carnival last time out when an easy 5 1/2 lengths scorer. The handicapper has put him 7lb for that, but it may not be enough to stop him going in again. Zanza may still be well-weighted against some unexposed sorts, and odds of 4/1 with Bet365 reflect that in his bid to follow-up.
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Momiral can climb to juvenile Summit at Doncaster
In the Summit Juvenile Hurdle, the second of two Grade 2 races at Doncaster (14:40), Monmiral is a strong fancy to build on his British debut. Now trained by Paul Nicholls, this French import bolted up at Exeter. It was a very taking bow for his current handler.
Monmiral jumped left on occasion there, but that won’t be a problem at an anti-clockwise track like Doncaster. The presence of Irish raider Glorious Zoff among final declarations mean he faces some competition. Gordon Elliott was going to run that one in a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse’s Winter Festival.
Glorious Zoff was off his feed, however, and Monmiral is highly regarded by Nicholls. It looks significant connections are going straight into Grade 2 company rather than getting course experience into him at Cheltenham. At the 4/6 on offer with Betfair, Monmiral therefore gets the vote to complete a career hat-trick and remain unbeaten.
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Ofalltheginjoints the December Novices’ Chase call
In the other Grade 2, the 3m December Novices’ Chase (14:05), Ofalltheginjints tops official ratings. He can follow-up on his Exeter win, having come on for his reappearance like many from the Colin Tizzard stable.
Ofalltheginjoints is a former Irish pointer who was bought for this sphere. Connections have run him in novice handicaps under heavy weights, and this approach may have brought the gelding by Stowaway on. He arguably didn’t have a sufficient test of stamina over hurdles, but is often definite interest now pitched into graded chase company.
While re-opposing rival House Island had the beating of Ofalltheginjoints over hurdles, this test should bring out the best in him. He also meets that one on 3lb better terms than their encounter at Sandown just over 12 months ago. Ofalltheginjoints therefore is worth a wager at 5/4 with Boylesports now tackling the long home straight on Town Moor for the first time.