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W.L. And Hector Christie Memorial Handicap Chase (Class 3)
Catterick’s third race of the day is a two mile handicap chase, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Bursting onto the scene with his first win over fences, A Little Magic still has scope for progress on his fourth chasing start but NINE ALTARS makes much more appeal today. A winner off this mark over hurdles, he wasn’t beaten far on only his second start over fences and has the brilliant Brian Hughes on board to help steer him home. Conditions are perfect for him and in this mediocre field he should be able to capitalise and gain his first win over fences.
1 FAIR LOCH – Lightly raced over fences and won on his penultimate start at Ayr (1m 7f, Good to Soft) but struggled off his new mark at Musselburgh last week (1m 7f, Good). Still unexposed over fences, but this looks tough off top weight and will need a much more fluent display to be involved against some more experienced chasers. Will probably be there or thereabouts but others have more pressing claims.
2 INDIAN VOYAGE – Running consistently well until finding his latest run at Haydock too competitive (1m 7f, Soft). He should appreciate today’s easier challenge but is thoroughly exposed over fences compared to most of these, with his progression all but stopped at this stage in his career. Conditions are fine today and he is still below his last winning mark, but others certainly have more obvious claims and he is best watched.
3 A LITTLE MAGIC – Things finally came good at Huntingdon when winning well (2m, Good to Soft), improving massively on his previous two chasing runs. Raised 6lb for that run and will need to show further improvement, but as a lightly raced 6 year old improvement can be expected and it’d be a surprise to see him not fighting for the victory today after that Huntingdon win. His only real negative in the context of this race is his failure to settle early, and he’ll definitely need to if he wants to score today.
CAPTAIN HOX – NR
5 DOMTALINE – Very consistent for Peter Winks but very difficult to win with, with a record of 3-26 over fences. Dropping back in trip after his latest poor performance at Leciester (2m 4f, Good to Firm) seems the logical move and has conditions to suit today. He’s on a good mark on the best of his form and in this mediocre field he definitely has place claims if back to near his optimum.
6 NINE ALTARS – Won off this mark over hurdles last season and is still lightly raced over fences, posting an improved effort to finish 6th of 9 at Sedgefield on his latest start (2m, Good). He wasn’t beaten far that day and still remains with potential on only his third start over fences, and the ground conditions on offer are perfect for him. Further improvement can be expected after a short break and if running up to the the best of his hurdling form he could be hard to beat in a mediocre field.
7 ROXYFET – Has posted some good form in the past but has been very poor on his last four starts, being well beaten at big odds on all four occasions. He’s never won off a mark this high in the past and that doesn’t look likely to change with the way he’s performing at present, so despite Finian O’Toole claiming 5lb, he is easily passed over today with conditions also not in his favour.
8 SWALEDALE LAD – 10 year old who returned to winning ways over hurdles at Market Rasen on Boxing Day (2m, Good to Soft) and returns to chasing with something to prove. 2-16 over fences, he does have some good form in the book which would make him more than competitive in a race of this nature, but his form had taken a significant downturn before his win last time out and it is hard to trust he’ll put his best foot forward again today. The conditions on offer are what he wants but he makes a risky proposition on the back of his inconsistent profile and is most likely best watched.