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Jewson Novices Chase preview

Back for more after tipping Son of Flicka today is Dan Kelly, @muffinmannhc. Thursday kicks off with the newest Grade 2 race on the schedule, the Jewson Novices Chase which has attracted quite a handy field. A month ago Peddlers Cross was bombproof, now he's severely on the nose...


Well this little number has certainly livened up in recent weeks. Sprinter Sacre, or the lack of work, has seen Peddlers Cross' target shifted, and Sir Des Champs, well with Mullins any declaration he makes, is always the right one. This much loved addition to the festival roster has a quality look to it.

Yesterday we saw Bobs Worth, Finians Rainbow, Simonsig and even the bumper winner either make it or most certainly sit just off the pace, but this race has a number of runners who will be up there.

Bold Sir Brian has been winning chases in the north fairly convincingly, and this Grade 2 winner over the smaller obstacles has to be respected. He certainly improved for the better ground at Musselburgh as his jumping was breathtaking at times, and all his runs have seen him sit just off the pace. Worry has to be that if this turns into the test I expect it to be, then he could struggle at this level.

Cristal Bonus has beaten nothing of note, and also there are questions to answer with regards to the true well-being of the Nicholls horses, at a single figure price I can't have him on my mind one iota and as such, Duke Of Lucca is swiftly overlooked.

Zaynar has shown himself up just as much as Tom Scudamore has with his riding this week, and I can't envisage either returning to winning sometime soon in current form. Excluding Imperial Shabra who has a task and a half this leaves us with; Champion Court, For Non Stop, Micheal Flips, Peddlers Cross, Red Tanber, Sir Des Champs and Red Tanber. Yes Red Tanber.

Red Tanber deserves a mention just purely based on how this race may pan out, I make it that on evidence seen so far Michael Flips, Duke Of Lucca, Champion Court, Cristal Bonus, Peddlers Cross, Soliz and Zaynar are likely to be up there with a couple likely to cut each others' throats, as such I think quotes of 150/1 are generous for a small each-way play.

As in form as Donald McCain is in, I can't have Peddlers here for the win. It's openly been said that he hasn't had enough schooling as McCain would have liked, and this will be run at a searching clip, so he has to be overlooked at cramped odds of 7/2.

For Non Stop is a quirky sort, at Sandown he looked like he had the beating of Al Ferof yet didn't go through with his challenge, and even at Newbury I felt that he didn't beat Michael Flips as readily as he should have done. Michael Flips should be in the Grand Annual.

I keep reviewing last years Martin Pipe Hurdle, and I see, continually, in disbelief Sir Des Champs get up. Again last time out, I think he's beaten and come the line he is there. He was bought with chasing in mind as he had lost his novice status in France prior to purchase, and he has a favourites chance, and arguably should be clear favourite.

But I declare my love for one, Champion Court. Prior to his win at Cheltenham Nov 10 I thought that Martin Keighley had a sort on his hand if you watch his run at Kilbeggan, he didn't disappoint running away from a sound field. Jan 11 he ran as if something amiss, and at the 2011 Festival he ran with the choke out. Fences would be the making of him, in part they have, but the main ingredient to his improvement in form on New Years Day was tactics. Alain was happy to let him bowl along prominently and make use of him, he won convincingly and I can't see any excuses for placings being reversed with Solix here today.

The two Champs will have it between them tomorrow, heart is hoping Champion Court can do it the hard way from the front, yet 7/2 on Sir Des Champs is too big to overlook.

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