AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Towcester Thursday

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12.40 Towcester Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)

The ground – described as ‘good, good to soft in places’ – is relatively quick for the time of year and this 2m5f novices’ hurdle might not develop into a typical Towcester slog.

The Ben Pauling-trained LINENHALL carries a penalty for his last-time out 2m6f Stratford maiden hurdle success where he made all the running. Alan King’s Good Man Pat, second by a length that day, did the form no harm when going close in a 3m handicap hurdle at Kempton on Monday. This venue couldn’t be more different than Stratford but Linenhall has form on stiff right-handed tracks, having run a three-length third of 15 in a bumper at Exeter back in February. There’s always a chance that front-running Stratford winners were flattered – the track often favours pacier types – but Linenhall’s win was backed up by a good speed figure and he could again be in receipt of a relatively easy lead here.

THE DEVILS DROP, runner-up in an Irish point in the spring, made an encouraging debut under Rules when keeping on into a 12-1 fourth at Chepstow in maiden hurdle company. He finished 15 lengths behind the winner but the time was fast and the 19-length fifth, Colin Tizzard’s Mister Malarky, ran out a 10-1 winner at Kempton on Monday. His trainer has a fine record at Towcester, sending out four winner from eight runners here in 2016 and The Devils Drops is his first course representative this year.

AARON LAD finished second in a pair of Limerick maiden hurdles in the spring and makes his debut for Dr Richard Newland. The Worcestershire handler has a well-deserved reputation for scoring at the first time of asking with his new acquisitions, especially when the money is down..

Linenhall is no slouch but the concession of 6lb to THE DEVILS DROP might prove too much and Alan King’s four-year-old is taken to get off the mark. Aaron Lad is a fascinating rival but, unlike his two main market rivals, he lacks race fitness.

1.10 Towcester Follow Us On Twitter At starspreads_bet Handicap Chase

CLASSIC JEWEL, a winner at Uttoxeter in July on his debut for Evan Williams, has placed in both subsequent outings and currently heads the market. He was keeping on strongly over 3m last time and the drop to this extended 2m5f could count against him, even on this stiff track.

EDWARD ELGAR, forecast to start as the second favourite, might also prove vulnerable. Caroline Bailey’s locally-trained six-year-old has yet to score outside of selling grade and is 0-4 over fences.

The Robin Dickin-trained SOME FINISH, a ten-length runner-up in this race last year, tends to jump out to his right and it’s no coincidence that his three wins have come at right-handed Leicester (twice) and at today’s venue. He ran poorly at Ludlow last time but the return to this stiffer track will suit and the first-time cheekpieces, replacing the usual visor, could eke out some improvement.

At a massive price, THE SOCIETY MAN is no forlorn hope despite being 7lb out of the handicap. Michael Chapman’s veteran has won just once from 80 starts but was far from disgraced when a 100-1 fifth at Huntingdon last time and Alison Clarke takes off 7lb. HIs sole course outing saw him finish a 66-1 fourth on unfavourable terms in novice chase company last month.

Classic Jewel and Edward Elgar make little appeal and last year’s runner-up SOME FINISH is taken to go one better this time.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)

BACK THE DEVILS DROP (12.40 Towcester) 3 points at SP with Star Sports

BACK SOME FINISH (1.10 Towcester) 2 points at SP with Star Sports

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