JONATHAN HOBBS: Eyes down for a top-class card at Hove on Thursday with the centrepiece the final of the Coral Brighton Belle – a really competitive finale to what has been a cracking bitches-only competition this year.
Supported by the heats of a superb two-run sprint event, plus a maiden final and other one-off opens, the action on SIS from the Sussex venue looks top drawer – let’s hope one or two decent winners are lurking among them!
Enjoy tonight – and then look forward to Saturday’s semi-finals of the RPGTV St Leger at Perry Barr and Monday’s semi-finals of the Carling Eclipse at Nottingham as a strong end to the year continues on the open-race circuit.
7.03: The open-race action starts with a terrific head-to-head in heat one of the sprint between Magical Houdini and Portmageewiseguy. The former has notched recent fast wins at Crayford, but the latter returns home and Jason Heath’s dog has the edge on the clock. He ran well in a fast time at Romford latest.
7.17: Lambeth Way has made an unblemished start to his UK career with five wins from five starts – two of which have come over tonight’s C&D. He is difficult to oppose from Ernie Gaskin’s camp, although Billies Tea (June Harvey) showed good pace at Romford in his two races, winning a Puppy Cup heat.
Plays: Lambeth Way, Billies Tea
7.33: Heather Dimmock’s team continues to shine and Volcanic Reef is tough to oppose in this one-off. Some of his best efforts have been over this trip, although a squeezing up from Slaheny Star needs avoiding. Indeed, expect better from Brynoffa Ben (Matt Dartnall) who might represent the value.
Play: Brynoffa Ben
7.49: Runaway heat winner Droopys Toast will go off favourite here for Paul Young and timewise has the edge on heat form. However, come this Hove Maiden 490 Final, might Seamus Cahill’s Brickfield Whiz surprise him outside? He looks an improver himself, winning his own heat in good style also.
Play: Brickfield Whiz
8.06: The Coral Brighton Belle Final looks a real humdinger with plenty of chances. Comeonyoubees (Matt Dartnall) arrives as fastest heat winner and will look to hold off Baran Spitfire (Jamie Kingsley) early, although both need to trap smartly with dangers around. Galloping Moon (Kevin Hutton) powers home and picks up any pieces potentially. No great opinion here, but I still believe the Spencer Mavrias-trained Courts Ad Lyn is running well at large double-figure odds – and will run another solid race here.
Play: Courts Ad Lyn
8.21: A cracking stayers event now where the Derek Knight-trained Forest Candy looks drawn for a good run, but Burgess Villa (Matt Dartnall) caught the eye late on after a troubled run in the heats of the St Leger at Perry Barr last week. Improvement is also likely after just four starts in the UK.
Play: Burgess Villa
Other fancies at Hove are Seamus Cahill’s Deep Pockets (8.38), who might be sharper for a Notts trial, Matt Dartnall’s well-drawn pair of Droopys Tess (8.53) and Blue Montague (9.08), while another red-jacketed runner General James (9.26) could go well for June Harvey after solid comeback trials.
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