Hill can hit the heights
Ashley Iveson previews Friday's five meetings with Barters Hill fancied to star at Cheltenham.
Barters Hill: Can follow in the hoofprints of some famous names
CHELTENHAM: 12.55 Eastlake, 1.30 Johnny Og, 2.05 BARTERS HILL (NAP), 2.40 Wholestone, 3.15 Lou Vert, 3.50 Long Lunch.
DUNDALK: 5.35 Soul Brother, 6.05 Twist Of Magic, 6.35 To Choose, 7.05 Drake Passage, 7.35 Temasek Star, 8.05 Windsorlot, 8.35 Modern Tutor, 9.05 Heartful.
LINGFIELD: 11.45 Hersigh, 12.15 Don't Blame Me, 12.45 Little Miss Daisy, 1.20 Indulged, 1.55 Major Crispies, 2.30 Red Tea, 3.05 Statuesque, 3.40 Courtsider.
NEWCASTLE: 12.30 Acdc, 1.05 Lake View Lad, 1.40 St Gregory, 2.15 Sweet Belle, 2.50 Zaru, 3.25 Solighoster.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 4.15 Zefferino, 4.45 American History, 5.15 African Beat, 5.45 Masham Star, 6.20 Kay Sera, 6.50 Dance On The Hill, 7.20 Secret Witness, 7.50 Lydiate Lady.
Barters Hill can add his name to the illustrious roll of honour in the Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.
It is 10 years since the great Denman claimed this two-and-a-half mile prize and 12 months later another subsequent Gold Cup hero in Imperial Commander emerged victorious.
Grands Crus, Dynaste and Taquin Du Seuil all struck gold in this event on the way to winning Grade Ones, while the most recent winner was World Hurdle victor More Of That.
It is certainly not inconceivable Barters Hill can make his mark at the top level over fences, having already done so over hurdles.
Ben Pauling's stable star was unbeaten in four bumpers and won his first three starts over jumps, including his dominant victory in the Challow Hurdle at Newbury.
He suffered the first defeat of his career in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Festival here in March, but endured a troubled preparation and it is testament to his ability that he managed to finish a close-up fourth.
While he has also shaped like a stayer, Pauling is adamant his charge has deceptive pace and it should not be forgotten his Challow romp came over this trip.
The rain that has fallen will help and while he meets some talented opponents with chasing experience, he is fancied to make a successful start to his new career.
Wholestone can secure a three-timer in the Neptune Investment Management Hyde Novices' Hurdle.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained five-year-old barely came off the bridle when making a successful return from almost a year off at Warwick in September and he doubled up when tackling three miles for the first time here three weeks ago.
He drops back in distance for this Grade Two contest, but that is not a major concern with conditions now on the easy side.
National Hunt racing returns at Newcastle, where Lake View Lad makes his fencing debut in the Catalyst4Soccer Academy Chase.
Nick Alexander's grey won at Ayr and Wetherby in the depths of last winter before having his limitations exposed in the Premier Kelso Hurdle.
However, he made the most of having his sights lowered at this venue in April and he should enjoy another successful campaign if taking to the larger obstacles.
Don't Blame Me can complete his hat-trick in the Betway Handicap at Lingfield.
The Captain Gerrard gelding shaped with promise on each of his two starts as a juvenile and after starting off this year in similarly encouraging fashion, he opened his account at the fifth attempt at Kempton in August.
A 4lb hike looked a shade lenient and that theory was proved right as he comfortably followed up over the course and distance the following month.
He has been given a nice break since and while he has to concede weight all round on his latest assignment, he should prove up to the task.
A step up in trip can help Statuesque come good in the Betway Maiden Stakes.
Sir Michael Stoute's filly looked a winner waiting to happen when narrowly beaten on her first start of this season at Salisbury, but was beaten at prohibitive odds at Wolverhampton next time and could only finish third on her return from three months off at Chelmsford on her latest outing.
Overall the daughter of Sea The Stars as been a shade disappointing, but this is not a great race and she should be seen to better effect over the mile and a half.
Wolverhampton punters should put their faith in African Beat in division two of the 32Red Casino Maiden Stakes.
The Godolphin-owned youngster was seemingly well fancied for her racecourse introduction at Newbury a few weeks ago and while she came up a little short, there was plenty to like about her finishing effort as she passed the post fourth.
That experience will not have been lost on her and she should be very hard to beat in this lesser grade.
Posted at 1515 GMT on 10/11/16.
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