A field of eight go to post for the fifth race of the day at Sedgefield on Thursday evening, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: There was a huge amount of promise shown by OLIVER’S HILL on his reappearance from a long break, running well for a fair way at Fontwell over the 3m 2f trip. He is one pound lower here but more crucially he drops back in trip, which will suit him massively judging by the way he travelled on his latest start. Aidan Coleman takes the ride and he should be tough to beat here with conditions to suit. The main danger is Highbury High, who is due to be six pounds higher after being beaten by a head at Southwell eleven days ago.
1 FRIENDLY ROYAL – Lightly raced eight year old for Sam England who hasn’t been seen for 508 days, which immediately puts him on the back foot. He refused at the final fence on his penultimate start at Carlisle before pulling up at Market Rasen when last seen in April 2016. He returns sill nine pounds above his last winning mark and it’s very easy to look elsewhere on this occasion.
2 HIGHBURY HIGH – Ten year old veteran for Neil Mulholland who has been in good form of late, last seen at Southwell where he was only beaten a head by a well treated rival. He is due to be six pounds higher in the future so he’s well in here and a repeat of that performance should see him going very close with conditions to suit. Connections are in brilliant form at present and he is a very key play here.
3 OLIVER’S HILL – Returned from a six month absence on his latest start when shaping very nicely at Fontwell two weeks ago, traveling well for a long way before weakening out of things late on over the 3m 2f trip. He will be much happier back down in distance and looks hugely dangerous off a pound lower mark, with Aidan Coleman retaining the partnership. The good ground will suit him and he should be tough to beat here.
4 MUWALLA – Consistent sort for Lisa Harrison who ran a good race on his latest start to finish second, keeping on strongly behind a runaway winner who made all that day. He remains on the same mark but he does seem to be in the handicapper’s grip at present, with surely at least one of these likely to be too well handicapped for him. Conditions are fine and he’s an each way contender, but that is all today.
5 COOPER’S FRIEND – Course and distance winner who has pulled up the last twice which is very disconcerting, though he is now eight pounds below his last winning mark and a return to better ground will suit him. If returning to form today he’d have a huge chance as he’s very well treated on the best of his form, though he’s far from guaranteed to get back to that level again. Risky but interesting all the same, market support should be noted.
6 BROTHER SCOTT – Two wins from his last three starts for this ten year old with both of those coming when he was with the Sue Smith yard. He made his debut for Barbara Butterworth on his latest start at Cartmel, well beaten over the same course and distance he’d won at on his previous two starts before. That run came only five days ago and he may just be too high in the weights now, so others are preferred.
7 MAHLER BAY – Twelve race maiden for Kenny Johnson who ran well enough on his only chasing start this campaign, finishing fourth over course and distance back in May. That was a solid effort but more is needed into handicap company as he comes up against some interesting types who look well handicapped. Hard to fancy him on his overall record.
8 MR ROBINSON – Two stone out of the handicap for Lucinda Egerton and from that fact alone it’s very easy to dismiss his chances under Lee Edwards. He was last seen at Cartmell where he was a tailed off last and he’s easily dismissed.