We send a team of eight to Hexham this afternoon, getting underway with Methodtothemadness and Grand Morning in the opening novice handicap chase. Methodtothemadness has a good record over course and distance, being an 11-length winner back in June and a close third on her latest outing, but both of those wins came on good ground and it remains to be seen how she’ll handle this softer surface. Conversely, Grand Morning will love the conditions.
We are also doubly represented in the 2m novice hurdle, with both Readysteadybeau and Thunder In Milan making their hurdling debuts. They each showed promise to finish runner-up in bumpers, but they take on an odds-on favourite this afternoon and can be expected to improve with this initial jumping experience under their belts, Thunder In Milan in particular a horse who is bred to appreciate a lot further in time.
Buddha Scheme makes his reappearance in the 3m handicap chase, attempting to go one place better than when second 12 months ago. He is 5lb higher this time so will need an improved performance, but he looks to have a solid each-way chance, as does Camp Belan, who goes in the 2m4f maiden hurdle.
Another horse making his first start of the campaign is Sutton Manor, who lines up in the 3m handicap hurdle. Having fallen on two of his last three runs over fences, he starts back over the smaller obstacles with the aim of restoring some confidence ahead of sending him back chasing.
Finally, Rapid Raider is back in action in the 2m handicap chase having undergone wind surgery over the summer. Hopefully it will have the desired effect, but he perhaps would want slightly better ground and it does appear quite a competitive race for the grade.