2.30pm Catterick Tips & Betting Preview 25/01/2017

An excellent looking handicap hurdle at Catterick on Wednesday. Seven runners go to post with five of them winners within their last three starts. Read on for our runner by runner preview and our expert’s tip.

IN SUMMARY: NIETZSCHE looks hard to oppose without a penalty for an impressive win at Market Rasen last week. This is a stronger contest but he get the juvenile allowance and has already been well supported in the betting which is always a huge plus for the yard. Jaleo has won here twice over hurdles already and has to get plenty of respect while Italian Riviera is clearly thriving for Kenneth Slack including three wins on this track albeit in a lower grade to this.

1 JALEO – Had to fight hard to win on his seasonal return when Loves Destination gave him a scare at Lingfield. That horse has done nothing to frank the form since but the 3rd and 4th have both made the placings again. Well suported in a better race than this last time at Kempton, he made it no further than the first flight. A dual course winner as a novice on similar going, he is entitled to plenty of respect at a course that evidently suits well.
2 ALZAMMAAR – Like so many juvenile hurdlers who do well in that initial campaign, he found things much tougher last year outside of his own age group. He finally picked up back to back wins in the Spring when given more of a test of stamina but drops back in trip now. He looked weighted to his best but the £20,000 that new connections pay could reap dividends when back up in trip for an trainer increasingly noted for well supported winners.
3 PILLARD – Been set some stiff tasks since arriving on these shores from France but produced a career best when third at Leicester in December. Not the easiest for connections to assess, he has had blinkers, a hood, cheek pieces and tongue tie tried with the last mentioned worn last time, No surprise to see that retained here but this is a sharper track than Leicester and the way he galloped all the way to the line on that occasion, this might just to a little too sharp for him.
4 AMANTO – Showed glimmers of promise in his novice days with Paul Nicholls but he has failed to get his head in front over hurdles in eight attempts so far. Shaped with promise on his first run for his new yard on Boxing Day at Fontwell but he has run just a single good race over a similar trip to this (Taunton in 2014) and despite the sharp track, he is probably still best watched for now.
5 ITALIAN RIVIERA – A revelation since joining the yard of Kenneth Slack, winning four of his five outings for the yard including three times at this track. This is a sizeable step up in class now but he settled better than has often be the case last time. If he can get into a steady rhythm early again then it’s possible that there is more improvement in the tank at a track that brings out the best in him.
6 THYNE FOR GOLD – Another course winner, making a good impression when scoring by seven lengths over C&D in November. He was a little disappointing the last time we saw him when behind Italian Riviera but finds himself eight pounds better off (including jockeys claims) for a four and a half length beating. He needs to produce more from a career high mark but the Donald McCain yard have had four winners and four places from their last seventeen runners so the form of the yard is solid.
7 NIETZSCHE – 2/2 at Catterick, once on the flat and once over hurdles, he was an impressive winner last week at Market Rasen. Connections wisely turn him out again quickly before the handicapper has a chance to reassess. Unpenalised for last week’s win as it was a race for conditional jockeys, he retains the services of Megan Carberry. This is a deeper contest but Brian Ellison said last week that “he might go for the Fred Winter” at the Cheltenham Festival so another win and rise in the weights would help to see him get into that contest,
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