Steve Hughes looks ahead to a good day’s chasing on Sunday in Britain
Today is finals day for the Northern Lights series – a batch of races designed to promote jumps racing in the North. Plenty of prize money on offer with no southern raiders to worry about. I have a selection for the 3m chase, but the best bet may well be in the Veterans Chase at Leicester. We had a very solid day again at Newbury with wins for Old Guard (advised 7/1) and in the big race for Total Recall (advised 6/1).
Leicester 1.45: Fox Appeal
Trainer Emma Lavelle is enjoying a real purple patch with her string at present – 8 wins since the start of November, compared to four in the previous six months. As such Fox Appeal has to be respected, especially as he already has a fine run to his name in this Veterans series this autumn.
Until winning at Newton Abbot in the spring – off today’s exact mark of 141, all his wins have come on right-handed tracks so he ought to go well around Leicester. In addition he is a good horse on a sound surface and Leicester’s chase track always is one of the quickest around.
He was far from disgraced in fifth at Ascot last time against younger rivals and was a fine second in this grade at Chepstow in October. Given the form of the yard there are plenty of reasons to think Fox Appeal will be primed for this test.
Carlisle 2.25: Purcells Bridge
A few of these horses look to have been campaigned to peak for this decent pot and Purcells Bridge definitely falls into that category for the in-form Rose Dobbin team.
Usually a strong traveller in his races, he acts best on the soft ground he will certainly get today. He made no show at all on his seasonal debut at Hexham and only marginally improved at Wetherby on his last start, where he did at least complete the course. However his handicap mark has now come down to 112, his last winning mark.
That last win came on heavy going at Haydock and he has two wins earlier in his career at this track. A few of his opponents could be vulnerable on this ground and over this trip on a stiff track, but he should have no issues on those points.
1pt win – Fox Appeal – 1.45 Leicester – 7/2 general
0.75pts each-way – Purcells Bridge – 2.25 Carlisle – 9/1 general