Wednesday’s race of the day – Who will come out in top in feature Novices’ Handicap at Leicester?

Jon Vine takes a look through the betting for the Novices’ Handicap Chase at Leicester on Wednesday 11th December and provides readers with his tips for Wednesday’s race of the day.

As part of our Daily Tips service, I’ve taken a look through the runners set to contest Wednesday’s race of the day at Leicester and tipped a 6/1 shot to bounce back to winning ways.

Wednesday’s Race Of The Day at Leicester

Before Midnight

Ran well during bumper campaign and was consistent again last year as a novice hurdler. One poor run at Sandown aside, Before Midnight won one of his six starts, finishing a close second on three occasions. Did his best work on similar tracks to this and ground looks ideal. One to watch on his chasing debut.

Commodore Barry

Looked a real chaser in the making during a successful first campaign under rules. Won two good novice hurdles over three miles before a distant third-place finish in the River Don at Doncaster. Has been beaten twice carrying short prices on both of his first two starts over fences and his jumping hasn’t been the best. Should be a player though, even under top-weight.

Coolanly

Won a Grade Two at Cheltenham during his second season as a novice hurdler last term. Ran well to place fifth in the Martin Pipe at the Festival too. Well beaten on reappearance, but impressed on first start over fences, narrowly going down to Espirit Du Large, who won a Grade One at Sandown on Saturday. Stable are in flying form. Leading claims.

Coolanly winning over hurdles at Cheltenham last season.

Ivilnoble

Still a maiden after four starts under rules. Placed on all three starts over hurdles. Stepped right up to 25 furlongs on first outings over fences, fading rapidly after making the running before eventually being pulled up. Has more to offer, but this looks a hot race.

Mystical Clouds

Easily beat a Gordon Elliott raider on his first start at a second-season novice hurdler last October. Then fell when going to post as the 1/16 favourite at Uttoxeter, before running into a couple of quality runners on his final two starts over hurdles. Sire’s progeny often improve when faced with fences, but I’m not convinced he’s that well handicapped.

Pistol Whipped

Nicky Henderson’s second string, after Nico De Boinville chose to ride Before Midnight. Made debut under rules in a hot maiden at Newbury, finishing third, before claiming a routine victory at Fakenham next time out. Pulled up on final start at Sandown, but soft ground wasn’t ideal that day and he could be a player.

Rocco

Fell when just mounting a challenge on his first start over fences. Bounced back to win in good style at Stratford, beating a couple of subsequent winners. Headed two out on last start and looked to be fading, but rallied again towards the finish. Step up in trip could be ideal and connections have strong record at Leicester.

Verdict

Before Midnight is the most appealing of the newcomers and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him go well. I’d rather side with a runner with chasing experience in handicap company though. Commodore Barry is another worth watching, but he hasn’t taken to chasing as well as I expected and his jumping will be under severe scrutiny around this tight, testing track.

Coolanly’s form was boosted massively by Espirit Du Large at the weekend and Fergal O’Brien has been firing in winners all over the place this season. My preference, however, is with ROCCO (6/1 William Hill), who may not have run as well as expected last time, but he could relish the challenges posed by Leicester and stepping up in trip seems a smart move. 6/1 is too tempting to pass up.

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