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2019 River Don Novices' Hurdle tips - Nicholls' 7/4 chance can strike Grade Two success at Doncaster

Paul Nicholls can win Saturday's River Don Novices' Hurdle at Doncaster.

Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look at the potential big race field for Satuday's feature Grade Two hurdle at Doncaster.

Classy Grade Two action goes to post on Saturday at Doncaster as the Albert Bartlett River Don Novices’ Hurdle goes to post on Town Moor, and from a potential field of ten runners earlier in the week, only four now face the tapes for the three mile highlight.

Getting underway at 2.05pm, this is often a trial for the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival, and with a first prize in excess of £17,000 up for grabs to the winner it is sure to serve up another cracking renewal despite the small field.

Forming part of the ITV Racing line-up of horse racing action, Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look at Saturday’s field for this Grade Two contest.

Commodore Barry (11/8, William Hill) has gone from strength to strength over timber, winning for the fourth time in six starts when beating Blue Rambler over course and distance late in December, scoring by a head.

Kim Bailey has his team in good heart, and the Presenting gelding could have more to offer; this is tougher though than anything he has faced to date, and while he is clearly going the right way and is progressive there is a suspicion he’ll need to find another jolt of improvement in order to register another win.

It could be a similar scenario for Warren Greatrex’s Bailarico (9/2, William Hill) who opened his account with a walk-over success at Leicester prior to beating only one home there next time behind Dark Episode, shaping as if a longer trip might suit.

The Dubawi gelding stepped up to three miles at Kempton to run out a three lengths’ victor over Larkbarrow Lad, although he was perhaps fortunate as the strong-travelling Mister Tickle departed at the third last when looking likely to go close.

Still, he is unexposed over this trip and there remains potential for better.

Commodore Barry could seek another win back over hurdles at Doncaster on Saturday.

 TRUCKERS LODGE (7/4, William Hill) represents Paul Nicholls' Ditcheat yard, and the Westerner gelding can get back to winning ways having been arrowly beaten at Chepstow latest behind Virginia Chick.

A point-to-point winner in Ireland prior to joining Tom George, he struck both in a bumper and over hurdles at Southwell for that handler prior to switching to Nicholls, where he ran with credit despite finishing fourth in starts over the Autumn at Worcester.

However, he has found improvement since being stepped up to three miles, responding well to run out an easy ten lengths winner over Braventara, and then going close back there latest. While those runs have come in testing ground, he has shown he can handle better ground, and both his wins for Tom George came on a sound surface, so the underfoot conditions here will hold no fears.

Completing the four-runner field, Nadaitak (10/1, William Hill) found only one too good over course and distance last month having won here previously over shorter when beating Minella Bobo.

A winner on the flat for Sir Michael Stoute, Ben Pauling has his string in good heart and the Teofilo gelding is another who could step up on what he has shown although he probably needs to find improvement in order to feature.

Ben Pauling could saddle Nadaitak in Saturday's hurdles feature at Doncaster.


TRUCKERS LODGE (7/4, William Hill) has several good efforts to his name, including winning at Chepstow two starts ago with a ten lengths’ defeat of Braventara; after which he was denied only by a half-length behind Virginia Chick back at the Welsh venue latest.

The Westerner gelding won on better ground for Tom George at Southwell prior to joining forces with Paul Nicholls, so underfoot conditions at Town Moor on Saturday are unlikely to faze him despite his recent good efforts coming on softer ground, and having looked a smart stayer in the making in recent outings over this trip there could be better to come.

This is a step up in class, and like a few in the race he tries Graded company for the first time; but he could be equal to the task and open to further improvement over this trip he can give Paul Nicholls a third win in the race.


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2019 River Don Novices' Hurdle tips - Nicholls' 7/4 chance can strike Grade Two success at Doncaster

Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look at the potential big race field for Satuday's feature Grade Two hurdle at Doncaster.

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