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Friday Jumps Racing From Ascot, Exeter and Musselburgh

We had sort of a mixed bag yesterday with a number of paying races, but no real blockbuster scores from the National Hunt.

We’ll be trying to play some bigger races this time out as our strike rate was above average, but the betting return left us about even.  

1:15 at Exeter

It’s awfully tough to bet against Jonjo O’Neill and his charge Synchronised as they drop down from a listed score last time out but this is his seasonal debut and we’ll be looking to beat him in this Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Series qualifier.

The play looks to be the well-weighted PAVILLON BLEU who has just missed in his last two and looks set to get the job done here as he switches back to Exeter- a course he has eaten for breakfast over the past few years with three scores from five career runs over the surface in handicap chase company. We expect him to relish the switch to hurdles and to take advantage of a massive weight disparity. Strong play. 

1:25 at Musselburgh

Ballycolin certainly comes into this novice chase with some solid recent form but is making arguably too big of a step up in class as he attempts to tackle this field of six over 3m.

Big Burrows comes in here as top weight and just doesn’t look convincing enough as his seasonal debut was a farcical UR on the 1st hurdle. Ferdy Murphy will have tried his best to sort that out but the simple fact remains that he has trouble finishing races.

DOUBLE EXPRESSO gets the nod here on his first start of the season after being pulled up in the Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at the Grand National meet. Prior to that he went 1131 lifetime and should come into this one looking to progress.

1:35 at Ascot

Tom Scudamore and FREDO have forged a solid partnership over the past few years and Scudamore is the only pilot to get this horse a win in the past two years or so. He is very attractive from a ratings perspective and we expect him to handle the good to soft going that is expected at Ascot tomorrow afternoon. Master of The Hall would normally be a solid selection here but he’ll likely need a race under his belt before he gets back to winning ways.  

2:25 at Exeter

We’re tackling another smaller field in this one with 5 contenders going 2m3f110y over fences in this novice handicap. DIAMOND BROOK only gives two pounds to his nearest challenger and enters off a beginners hurdle score over the Exeter surface. He has run in graded company so should set up nicely against the rather up-and-down field we’ve got here today.

Restezen D’Armor continues to finish second and you reckon that 2m3f might be a bit too far for him at the moment as he has trouble finding extra at the run-in.

2:35 at Musselburgh

This class 4 2m novice hurdle has a number of inconsistent runners that make it a rather complicated race to bet on. The clear pick looks to be MICHELLE’S EXPRESS, who gives the others about six pounds.

The six year-old bay gelding has really come into form in the fall and took a score at Ballinrobe against a field of 15 and then was headed on the run-in to finish second in a seven-strong race at Cork.

That’ll Do Nicely looks to be the outside spoiler here if he can rediscover some of his past form. He’ll have enjoyed the layoff and could make a statement.

3:20 at Ascot

You’d expect that DEN OF INIQUITY’s connections will likely deploy a slightly different gameplan for this one and we expect the nine year-old chaser to be held back a bit early on as he may have been sent up a bit early in his last race- a seasonal debut at Chepstow in mid-October.

A jockey switch to Wayne Hutchinson could pay dividends and he will be a really tough contender if he can keep disciplined on the run-in. Hutchinson and this charge combined for a Newbury score back in March and that was their only race together. Things shape up nicely for him here and he won’t be bothered by carrying top-weight. 

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