Taking a chance with unraced juvenile hurdlers is usually something we wouldn’t advocate, however, when it comes to Alan King-trained ones, we take a different view.
The trainer has a knack at spotting talent in horses at this kind of level and it’s no surprise to note that he has a fantastic record in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham.
He is sending out the well-regarded CHOCOLA in the Q Associates Juvenile Hurdle (Newbury 12:30) and hope is high within shrewd punting circles that he has the ability to win on his first start over the timber.
Very progressive on the Flat for King, the selection won at both Nottingham and Chester, so the buzz of a race day won’t affect this experienced horse. King has called him an “exciting prospect” over hurdles and although this event is always regarded as a strong contest, at his current odds Chocola can win on debut.
Paul Nicholls usually has a well-regarded runner in this but Calipto makes his UK debut today and it’s hard to analyse just what kind of horse he’s likely to make into.
Nicholls should get on the scoresheet with exciting chaser WONDERFUL CHARM, who should follow in his stablemate Just A Par yesterday and pick up a Grade Two novice chase at the track.
This horse has class stamped all over him and looked a chaser that should thrive over fences long term when winning a competitive Grade Two at Wincanton last time out.
There he beat decent yardsticks in the form of Fox Appeal with a penalty and even carrying another 7lb penalty shouldn’t be enough to stop him in the Fuller´s London Pride Novices´ Chase (Registered As Berkshire Novices´ Chase) at 2:05 Newbury.
Tanerko Emery looks the only danger but he still has plenty to prove over fences in just his second start over the larger obstacles.
David Pipe’s charge was perhaps a little unlucky not to beat Raya Star on his debut but his jumping went to pieces at the business end and the overall form at that race doesn’t look overly strong.
Wonderful Charm’s bubble won’t be burst and a five point stake is recommended at 4/5 (William Hill CLAIM £25 Free Bet) while Chocola is less fancied at just a two point win at 5/2 (Bet365 CLAIM £200 Free Bet).
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