Morning digest: Sceau happy Cheltenham is back

Sceau Royal

CHELTENHAM returns on Friday. Hurrah! The Novices’ Chase gets the pulse racing with Sceau Royal taking on fencing debutantes North Hill Harvey and Movewiththetimes. Sceau Royal, who jumped hurdles as quickly as anything I’ve seen, made a decent winning chasing debut at Warwick but this is tougher.

He is not the biggest but I think he will take high rank over fences in a similar way to Top Notch (not very big but a good jumper). Elsewhere at Prestbury Park Brillare Momento (2.00) should take the opener while KK Lexion (3.10) is an each-way fancy in a humdinger of a handicap at around 14/1.

The 3m Novices’ chase is another tantaslising morsel and any of the five could win. Black Corton (3.45) looks a more attractive punting proposition than the very short Fagan.

Golden Birthday (4.10) looks a good thing at Doncaster although he won’t be much of a price. He is in great form over hurdles and on the Flat and is still well handicapped. Finally, in a typically tricky backend sprint handicap, the bang-in-form Hyperfocus (3.35) might just have enough improvement in him to defy an 8lb rise and complete the hat trick under James Doyle.

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