It’s grim up North. Well, actually Hexham racetrack is in a picturesque piece of Durham countryside, but it has stubbornly resisted the drying trend by keeping up the heavy ground conditions.
A 3 mile chase on heavy Hexham going is a challenge in itself, however this afternoon’s handicap chase (1600 BST) adds a tactical challenge through the presence of tearaway front runner Cleve Cottage.
Two runs ago he went a little too fast and was clawed back, whilst last time out he made all and never saw a rival. Jockey Adam Nicol will have to get his pace timing right here with 7lbs extra to carry.
Another last time out winner was Hattons Hill, who showed improvement for stepping up to this trip in first-time cheek-pieces. That win was quite comfortable given he made a couple of jumping errors late in the race that would have sunk a less well-treated horse.
He should have more in hand granted a cleaner round of jumping, and provided jockey Jamie Hamilton keeps tabs on Cleve Cottage, then he should come through late on to grab a repeat win.
Recommendation: Hattons Hill (1600 Hexham), 7/2 generally available
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