DISCLAIMER: ODDS AND ARTICLE UPDATED 07/03/2019, 14:01.
With five meetings due to take place, we have two selections, including one on the all-weather at Newcastle on Friday evening.
Macs Blessings to Win and Each Way @ 11/4 - BET NOW
Macs Blessing was a late foal with a foaling date in May and, with that in mind, it’s perhaps unsurprising the gelding didn’t show much in five runs as a two-year-old last year.
It’s been a different story this season, however, with the selection following a couple of good places over 7f and an extended 1m1f at Wolverhampton with a course-and-distance victory here early last month.
The selection proved he is effective over this shorter distance when finishing runner-up over this trip at Wolverhampton in January and while he has to defy a 4lb rise in the weights here, he looks a progressive individual and is taken to record his second course success for a trainer with a 29% strike-rate (2/7) in recent weeks.
Two For Gold to Win and Each Way @ 11/2 - BET NOW
Kim Bailey comes into this contest in great form, with the handler boasting a 35% strike-rate (6/17) in recent weeks, and he looks to hold strong claims of improving on that with Gold Well gelding Two For Gold, who contests a competitive handicap hurdle.
The selection has won four of his six starts under Rules to date, including a bumper over an extended 2m at Doncaster (good-to-soft) in February last year. It’s a sign of the regard in which he’s held that he made his hurdling debut when finishing fourth in a Grade 2 contest over an extended 2m on good ground at Cheltenham in November.
The six-year-old wasn’t beaten far on that occasion and has since gone on to register two novice hurdle victories, following up a 7L success over an extended 2m5f at Wetherby (soft) with a neck success in a good-to-soft ground 2m7f event at Bangor in January.
The form of that Bangor contest looks fair, with the second and third both having won over hurdles previously, while the well-beaten fourth has won off a lowly handicap mark subsequently. Given a break since that latest victory, an opening mark of 133 doesn’t look overly harsh given the regard in which he appears to be held. He can make a winning handicap debut, with the drop back to 2m4f unlikely to inconvenience.
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