Ben Pauling can claim a landmark victory when Barters Hill steps up to the top table for the Betfred “Goals Galore” Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury.
The young Gloucestershire handler has never won a Grade One, but that should all change at the Berkshire circuit.
Barters Hill looks a gifted animal and should be given total respect in this sort of company.
The five-year-old is unbeaten in five starts under Rules, and looked especially smart at Aintree in the spring when he claimed the scalp of Bellshill in a Grade Two bumper.
It was a similar story on his hurdling debut at Huntingdon on 1 November as he absolutely hosed up in a reasonable-looking novice hurdle over just shy of two and a half miles.
Barters Hill is not short of boot – he would win plenty of races over two miles – but this sort of trip looks just about ideal at this stage of his development.
Even in spite of his relative inexperience, Pauling’s inmate has a great opportunity to further enhance his tall reputation.
Keep an eye, too, on Kasakh Noir, who runs in the Betfred Mobile Juvenile Hurdle.
Dan Skelton’s young buck made a bit of a splash on his British debut over this course and distance in November when he won a decent juvenile hurdle doing handstands.
Though chasing will be his game in time, Kasakh Noir is already prominent in the Triumph Hurdle market at the Cheltenham Festival.
Those dreams will probably only be realised if he doubles up at Newbury, which looks a highly likely scenario.
The Flat racing comes from Southwell, where Singzak should go well in the 32Red.com Handicap.
David Griffiths’ seven-year-old has not won since February 2014, but he is now handicapped accordingly.
He is also in decent fettle, too, having finished an encouraging second over a mile and three-quarters at this track on 12 December.
Singzak has gone up 3lb, but he is still 10lb lower than when he last won a race and should enjoy himself back over two miles – a distance at which he finished a slightly unlucky second at Wolverhampton in March.
Southwell expert Sofias Number One can also be followed with a degree of optimism in the Coral Handicap.
Roy Bowring’s seven-year-old has been out of sorts for quite a while, but he showed up much better at this track a few weeks ago, when third over a mile, his first run since August.
The gelded son of Silver Deputy goes back up in trip at the Nottinghamshire circuit, which has to be considered a gamble from what he has hitherto done on a racecourse.
That said, Sofias Number One has won seven races at this track in the past, with Bowring aware of his inmate’s stamina capabilities better than anyone.
Pepite Rose, who finished a distant runner-up in the Peterborough Chase last month, is recognised as a major player back against her own sex in the betdaq.com Two Per Cent Commission Mares’ Chase at Doncaster.