There are plenty of big names rolling out for the Winter Million meeting at Lingfield and Robbie Wilders from the Racing Post highlights four bets.
Sam Brown @ 10/3
Might I @ 4/1
Metier @ 4/1
Red Rookie @ 9/1
Noble Yeats’ omission from the Fleur De Lys Chase (2.00) leaves the race wide open and the one to make most appeal is Sam Brown.
Admittedly Sam Brown is 11 now and flopped behind Noble Yeats in the Many Clouds Chase last time, but he could easily bounce back when he returns to a course he has excelled at in the past. He must go close on these terms if is he back to himself.
Sam Brown was in the form of his life before the Many Clouds, trading short in running to upset Bravemansgame in the Charlie Hall Chase on his seasonal bow after rounding off his previous campaign with a handicap romp at the Aintree festival.
My selection is a real mud-lover who stays further than this 2m6f trip, so there is plenty to like.
A forgiving attitude is required to support Might I in the 2m handicap hurdle (2.30) as he finished a disappointing eighth last time when a well-backed favourite at Haydock.
However, that was over three miles and he had next to no chance of getting home considering how free he was on his comeback.
The return to this trip will help and Might I remains well treated off a mark of 142, having finished second to Constitution Hill in a novice hurdle, third to Jonbon in the Rossington Main and second to Three Stripe Life in the Mersey at Aintree within the past 13 months.
Give him another chance under Lorcan Murtagh, who takes 3lb off his back.
Goshen is the star attraction in the lucrative 2m3½f hurdle (3.30) but needs to go right-handed and should come unstuck having to give weight to some useful rivals.
First Street will probably head the betting after a decent third to Mares’ Hurdle favourite Marie’s Rock in the soft-ground Relkeel at Cheltenham last time, but smart dual purpose performer Metier looks the value to topple the big two for Harry Fry.
Metier receives weight from both and is unbeaten on heavy ground over hurdles, with one of his finest performances in this sphere coming in the 2m handicap hurdle at this meeting last season.
He was pulled up in the Christmas Hurdle behind Constitution Hill on Boxing Day when last seen, but you can draw a line through that as he was meeting a superstar.
This is weaker and an extra three-and-a-half furlongs could feasibly unlock some improvement.
Haddex Des Obeaux is deservedly a short-priced favourite for the 2m handicap chase (4.00) after impressing at Warwick last weekend, but this is a quick enough turnaround.
He might be able to overcome that, but I’d sooner side with Red Rookie for Emma Lavelle at a much bigger price each-way.
Lavelle saw fit to run Red Rookie in last season’s Arkle and he looked booked for fifth or sixth before coming down at the last.
Edwardstone and Blue Lord have done that form no harm since and I’m willing to forgive Red Rookie a below-par return at Chepstow as he didn’t seem to be crying out for 2m3f.
Stepping back in distance looks the right call and he should be fitter for the run. I’d be surprised if this eight-year-old, a generally sound jumper who is still quite lightly raced, did not rate a fair bit higher than a mark of 138 by the end of the season.