Duke Of Navan, beaten only once in three outings this season, can take the feature honours at Kelso this afternoon, provided the course passes an early-morning inspection.
Trained in Cumbria by Nicky Richards, who has a high opinion of him, Duke Of Navan won at Newcastle on his debut, finished a good fourth to the high-class Dodging Bullets at Cheltenham next time and returned to the winning trail on this course last month when looking every inch like an exciting prospect in the making.
The £17,000 BetVictor Morebattle Hurdle is the target today for Duke Of Navan. He has more on his plate, but Brian Harding’s mount is a horse going places and he is fancied to take plenty of beating.
The opening Lloyd Grimme Novices’ Chase, which opens the Kelso card, has attracted only three runners, and the pick of them may be Poole Master, trained by David Pipe and the mount of Tom Scudamore.
The eight-year-old is out to make it third time lucky after being a beaten favourite at Carlisle and Wetherby this term.
Interestingly, Pipe is bringing Poole Master back in trip today. It could be the making of this undoubtedly talented horse.
Pipe also has a winning chance with Unique de Cotte in the Harry Hill Novices’ Hurdle.
A winner at Leicester first time out this season, the five-year-old has since finished third at Ffos Las. There is more to come from him.
Jamie Hamilton, an amateur rider based with Richard Fahey at Malton, has two decent rides on the Kelso card.
The teenager has the thrill of teaming up with dual Scottish Grand National winner Merigo in the Amateur Jockeys’ Association Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase and his mount looks to be regaining his form.
Hamilton also rides Tartan Snow, on whom he won on this course last season, in the CGA Foxhunter Trial Open Hunters’ Chase.
Keith Reveley’s well-regarded Flemens Pride (4.40), a five-lengths winner on her debut at Newcastle, should not be underestimated in the concluding bumper.
At Wolverhampton tomorrow evening, Mark Johnston bids to complete a hat-trick of wins with Broxbourne in the coral.co.uk Fillies’ Handicap.
Successful here and at Lingfield, Broxbourne is in a rich vein of form at present and will be hard to beat, despite a 6lb penalty.
The nap vote is awarded to Teophilip in the Online Betting Offers At bookmakers.co.uk Handicap.
Trained by Marco Botti, who has been enjoying a productive winter with his all-weather team, Teophilip won easily at Yarmouth on his second outing last season before finishing fourth of five at Lingfield on his only subsequent start.
He always looked the type to make a better three-year-old and this looks a good opportunity for him to start his second campaign on a winning note.
Also worth noting are the Jamie Spencer-ridden pair of Dangerous Age (5.00), a Lingfield winner three weeks ago, and Cincinnati Kid (5.30), who was far from disgraced at Kempton last time out.
1.40 Poole Master, 2.10 Merigo, 2.40 Duke Of Navan, 3.10 Unique de Cotte, 3.40 Coverholder, 4.10 Tartan Snow, 4.40 Flemens Pride.
Today’s other meetings: Kempton and Leicester.
5.00 Dangerous Age, 5.30 Cincinnati Kit, 6.00 Party Palace, 6.30 Yourinthewill, 7.00 He’s A Striker, 7.30 Teophilip (NAP), 8.00 Broxbourne.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Fakenham, Lingfield and Sandown.