MELISSA JONES SAYS: Jumping action hots up at Chepstow
7:00am Saturday 12th October 2013 in Sport
IT’S a mouthwatering start to the jumps season at Chepstow this afternoon and we’ve even got the weather to boot.
A little chill in the air signifies the National Hunt action is hotting up on the racecourse; today’s fixture is traditionally the season pipe-opener for the UK’s leading stables.
Paul Nicholls, Alan King, David Pipe and Nigel Twiston-Davies have a clutch of runners on what is likely to prove an informative card.
However before all eyes are glued to the form, racegoers have the chance to welcome back some familiar faces to the scene.
At 1.55pm, ten former jockeys, including Wales’ only representative Carl Llewellyn, dust off their breeches for a 1m 7f test.
On a day that will raise vital funds for The Bob Champion Cancer Trust and Spinal Research, record breaking four time Stayers’ Hurdle winner Big Buck’s will be parading.
He joins Neptune Collonges, Comply Or Die, Well Chief and Welsh National heroes Dream Alliance and Monbeg Dude in the paddock.
The Chepstow team always work hard to provide a full programme at this fixture and this year is no exception.
The meeting also has an enhanced £100,000 prize fund on a mammoth eight race card- and that’s not including the battle of the former greats which kicks it all off.
Emma Lavelle has been in sparkling form in the last few weeks and while he’s not one of her leading lights, Court By Surprise is of interest in the 5.45.
It often pays to stick with trainers who have hit the ground running and I’d be inclined to avoid the Paul Nicholls team until they send out a winner.
A case in point is Wilton Milan, an expensive failure at Newton Abbot yesterday, a race that was won by Lavelle and Kangaroo Court.
Lightly raced for his age, Court By Surprise appreciates a sound surface, something which, in all honesty, is a rarity at Chepstow and the gelding has a nice racing weight.
Novice chases are probably my favourite type of race, but I wasn’t convinced by Balder Success’ jumping over hurdles so it should be interesting to see if he takes to fences at 4.15.
I’m keen to see whether Double Ross can put his experience to good use and shrug off a penalty.
He beat Attaglance last time and that one is no mug, winning handicaps at the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals.
Stick with the guaranteed fitness of Another Hero and the relentless hunger for winners from AP McCoy in the 4.45.
And unless the ground becomes soft, Domination looks worth a wager in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket.
The six-year-old has been laid out for the race and crucially, has won over course and distance, as the trip can take some getting.
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