4.30pm Warwick Tips & Betting Preview 25/05/2017

Six runners go to post for a competitive looking handicap chase at Warwick on Thursday, see our betting tips and full race preview.

IN SUMMARY: Festival Affair is on a career high mark but is likely to be a big danger again, but this can go to Lucy Wadham’s ARTIFICE SIVOLA. He’s been running well over fences the last thrice and his latest run was a second to A Little Magic, who made it four wins from five races in that Kempton event which means the form is sound. He deserves his time in the sun once again and can gain a forth chasing success with conditions to suit and Lucy Wadham taking the ride. Canicallyouback is a risky bet but cannot be discounted as he’s now 4lb below his mark when placing at Newton Abbot back in September.

1 FESTIVAL AFFAIR – Took a win three starts ago at Doncaster in softer conditions and although he was disappointing upped in class on his penultimate run at Ludlow, he atoned over the same C&D in better ground conditions eleven days ago. In that Ludlow race he won with seemingly a bit in hand and as a result has been raised 6lb to a career high mark, though there is nothing to suggest this in form nine year old couldn’t improve again in another winnable race. Both trainer and jockey are in brilliant form and all signs point to another big run.

2 GABRIAL THE GREAT – Won four starts ago at Uttoxeter in a 2m 4f handicap off a 3lb lower mark but he has been well out of form the last thrice, last seen well beaten at Newton Abbott in May, though that was a much tougher race than this. David Pipe is relying on the drop back in trip to help spark a revival not only for the horse but also for him, as he has drawn sixteen blanks in the past two weeks. He will be fine dropping back to two miles and conditions are to suit, but others do make more appeal on form and he’s likely for a supporting role at best.

3 ABIJAN – Was running well in the summer, winning at Newton Abbot in May 2016 off a 10lb higher mark but he was subsequently well beaten on three occasions since falling at Fontwell in August. He got back to somewhere near his best of his latest start after the handicapper gave him a chance, finishing second over C&D when a poor jump at the last ended his chances. He’s been raised 2lb but still remains well treated and the Skelton team can do little wrong at present, with 17 winners from their last 44. He’s a likely big player under Harry Skelton with conditions to suit and has to be respected as such.

4 CANICALLYOUBACK – Has been mainly disappointing since a good spell in the summer for Evan Williams and although he did travel well in the first time visor over hurdles here earlier this month, he found little off the bridle. That headgear is now left off which is a head scratcher and his mark is 5lb higher over fences, so more is certainly needed if he’s to be returning to winning ways in this. He’s still 4lb below his mark when second at Newton Abbot in September so he does have a race in him, it’s just very hard to know what horse you’re getting. Impossible to rule out but risky to back all the same.

5 ARTIFICE SIVOLA – Won three times in a row over hurdles last year for Lucy Wadham and has been far from disgraced on two of his three chasing runs thus far this season, finishing a respectable forth at Kempton when last seen off today’s mark. That rival was in good form and he was well clear of the third which is promising, with similar conditions on offer here under Leighton Aspell once again. He has big claims if turning up in the same form and has to be respected, as the fact his chasing mark remains the same as his hurdling one suggests more can be expected over the bigger obstacles yet.

6 DREAM BOLT – Took a third consecutive victory at Chepstow in January on a return from over a year off but he has majorly lost his way in two runs since, well beaten at both Sandown and Hereford. On his latest run he never looked likely to get involved and this doesn’t look any easier as he faces some rivals who are starting to hit form at present. You could make a case for him on his previous form but he clearly isn’t straight forward and others are preferred on this occasion.

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