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Fete to be sealed with a Champetre comeback

Back Fete Champetre @ 11/4 in the 13:40 at Hexham

We could only muster a second with the Godolphin runner on Friday, so it’s a rapid switch to the jumping action at Newcastle where the ground will be unseasonably good.

And given the conditions, I cannot resist another bet on my old nemesis Fete Champetre, who looks weighted to go one better than his recent second in an Ayr Novice. Once again the end product of a race let him down there with a couple of poor jumps, but on the whole, his fencing has been fine.

He was infamous for running head first into the hedge on the wing at Hexham on his chase debut. I had backed him that day and thought he was staying well to win, and thankfully both horse and rider came out unscathed, but it was one of the more bizarre moments I have seen.

Both of his victories have come on decent ground, and if he can stymie those late-race antics, he’s in with a chance here as he stays ever so well.

Scottish Accent could also be a danger as he looked in need of his run last time and he’s not one to write off just yet.

West End Lady looks sure to play a part for Lucinda

Back West End Lady @ 7/1 in the 14:15 at Newcastle

West End Lady could be named after Eponine – who ranks highly in the Top 10 of leading ladies on stage. Eponine was famous for her love of Marius in Les Miserables, a show I was once late for by about an hour. So I won’t want to miss Newcastle.

The Mares’ Handicap Hurdle revolves around market leader Gelboe De Chanay, who was the 11/4 favourite last night on the Sportsbook. She had lost her way completely until popping up to land a gamble over course and distance last time, but the ground was heavy that day and conditions will be vastly different.

The expected good ground might be a plus for West End Lady, who won at Hexham in October easily by 4L and enjoyed the step up to 2m4f at a stiff track.

She then performed well at the track in a novice to split Crystal Glory and High Moon, and that’s form I took a positive view of as the latter travelled well at Aintree on her subsequent start but didn’t get home.

Her blip at Kelso recently has to be forgiven, but I put that down to the testing ground. She’s just the sort of young staying hurdler Lucinda Russell does well with and has the stamina to be a force. She looks overpriced at 7/1 on the Sportsbook.





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