Sandown’s EBF Final graces the Esher course’s competitive Saturday card, and this tight-knit contest is invariably won by a decent horse. Philip Hobbs has long had this valuable race in mind for Horizontal Speed and he should run really well.
Ayr’s Friday jumps fixture is subject to a successful morning inspection but if the seven-race card survives the elements, Avidity can land the novice hurdle that opens proceedings at the West of Scotland venue.
Nicky Henderson and success at Doncaster fit together like a lock and key, and the champion trainer looks the man to follow on Town Moor this Saturday courtesy of smart novice hurdlers Tistory and Mayfair Music, who both hold leading chances in their respective races.
When the first days of March roll in, pulses quicken, steps lighten and the best four days of jumps racing anywhere in the world takes place at the Cheltenham Festival. A single meeting sums up an entire jumps season and while this distorting effect can pull the rest of the campaign out of shape, jumps fans have long grown used to Cheltenham's defining four days.
Heavy ground can be found in places at Kempton on Saturday, and after missing the Betfair Hurdle on account of identical underfoot conditions, the much-touted Irving turns out in the 3.15 at the Sunbury venue this weekend.
Doncaster’s jumps season always puts a spring in everyone’s steps especially during such rain-sodden times, and on Wednesday’s fine seven-race card, Matthew Riley looks open to plenty of progress and shades the nod in the staying handicap hurdle at 3.55.
Whatever the time of year, rose-tinted spectacles are an essential accessory for Kirkland Tellwright, Haydock’s master of ceremonies and if his confident call that racing seems certain to go ahead on Saturday proves correct, then Oscar Rock can take advantage by winning the graded novices’ hurdle.
Runners are as rare as dry days on Fakenham’s slimmed-down Friday card but small makes for beautiful in the five-runner novices’ hurdle that can go the way of Doctor Harper, a potentially smart sort from a stable that landed this same race a year ago.
Kelso’s big Thursday card leads with the Morebattle Hurdle but a weak renewal lacks stars, rising or otherwise, and the novices’ handicap chase earlier on the card yields a bet in the shape of the hat-trick seeking, Firth Of The Clyde.
Newbury’s portentously-titled Super Saturday card needs to survive a morning inspection but if racing goes ahead then Harry Fry is the trainer to follow courtesy of the hugely exciting Thomas Brown in a competitive Listed bumper that closes the seven-race card.