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Mark your Card: your best bets for today’s Grade racing

Declan Smyth casts his eye over the runners in this afternoon’s Berkshire Novices Chase at Newbury.

Dynaste, right, strikes for home in his win over Fingal Bay at Cheltenham earlier this month.
Dynaste, right, strikes for home in his win over Fingal Bay at Cheltenham earlier this month.
Image: PA Wire/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Berkshire Novices Chase (Grade 2)

DAY TWO AT Newbury’s Hennessy meeting features the Grade 2 Berkshire Novices Chase or, as it’s now called, the Fullers London Pride Novices Chase. Seven challengers have signed up for the 2m4f contest, although it’s highly unlikely that Benefficient will turn out after his exertions yesterday.

David Pipe’s Dynaste is going to be odds on-favourite following his impressive victory over the Fingal Bay at Cheltenham’s Open meeting two weeks ago. That was over today’s trip and the manner in which he pulled clear of his highly-rated opponent was impressive.

Theatre Guide was fitted with a tongue tie for his work at home after last April’s run at Aintree where he looked the winner before weakening in a Grade 2 ultimately won by Darlan. The tongue tie proved successful and was applied again for his chasing debut at Exeter at the beginning of November, where he gave a striking performance to beat the odds-on favourite Hinterland by 11 lengths.

He did jump slightly right at some of his fences however and if he repeats this, it won’t help his cause around Newbury’s left-hand track. Watching the markets his yesterday, his price seemed to be coming in which suggests that someone out there may be nibbling.

Court In Motion is a talented horse but will have to improve his jumping from his debut at Wincanton, where he finished third behind Houblon Des Obeaux. If he can do this,  he could be a serious contender.

There’s No Panic, Valmari and Swincombe Flame would all have to show significant improvement to figure, and so DYNASTE can continue his upward curve with most to fear from Theatre Guide.

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Declan Smyth

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