Saturday 17th February

1.15pm Ascot – Count Meribel 1pt Win (3/1)

On pedigree this sort of trip on testing ground would not be what Count Meribel needs, but he has shown that he is certainly up to it with 2 soft ground wins and a creditable second on heavy. A course and distance win in November racked up his hat-trick before he almost made it a 4-timer over 3 miles at Cheltenham on soft but he just ran out of steam and got caught after the last. He was very disappointing last time in a Grade 2 at Warwick but the yard wasn’t firing and Nigel Twiston-Davies’ stable has come back to form with 7 winners from their last 26 runners and Count Meribel should get the run of the race from the front today.

2.40pm Haydock – Crievehill 2pts Win (9/4)

I’m taking a bit of a chance here that Crievehill can put it all together today, but if he does I believe this mark of 129 could still be underestimating him under these conditions. A couple of appearances on heavy ground have yielded a first and a second and he’s also been to Haydock twice, finishing third in a Grade 2 behind Neon Wolf and second on his penultimate start. He won off 127 at Lingfield back in November and just 2lbs higher here on ground and a track that suit, I think he’ll go well.

3.55pm Wincanton – Fortunate George 2pts Win (7/2)

This represents a drop a class for Fortunate George who has been competing in competitive races over fences and reverts back to the smaller obstacles here. An impressive winner at Ascot in November to get off the mark over fences but he found Listed class too hot on his next start. His last hurdle win came off a mark of 125 and he races off 131 today, however, he has 7lb claimer Patrick Cowley on board to effectively mean he’s racing off 124. Crucially Patrick has a brilliant 20% strike rate this season. With 2 wins and a second to his name at Wincanton, I can see Fortunate George making it a winning return to hurdles today.



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