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Paul Nicholls eyes feature race glory at Warwick Racecourse with Friend Or Foe

AFTER its season opening double-header last week, racing returns to Warwick tomorrow, Thursday, with the Great Autumn Meeting featuring the Class 3 Barry Smith Memorial Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase over two miles, writes David Hucker.

Oscar Montel, left, will be carrying top weight in the Class 3 Ignite Handicap at Warwick. Photo: Steve Davies / sdphotos.co.uk
Oscar Montel, left, will be carrying top weight in the Class 3 Ignite Handicap at Warwick. Photo: Steve Davies / sdphotos.co.uk

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls runs top-weight Friend Or Foe from his two entries, the other, Mick Pastor, having won at Newton Abbot on Monday, and this winner of a Uttoxeter beginners’ chase on his only run over fences can score again.

He has to give weight to the more experienced Beyond The Clouds, a winner of two of his five chases, and to dual hurdle winner Lord Baddesley, who comes here with bags of potential.

The seven-race card kicks off at 1pm with the Pertemps Network Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle over two miles in which Newton Abbot winner Ginger Du Val has to concede weight to all her rivals, although regular jockey Ben Bromley reduces her burden by 7lbs.

Cup Of Coffee has failed to get round in her last two starts, slipping up in a Ludlow flat race and then falling at the penultimate flight when disputing the lead at Catterick, but her turn may come here.

Royal Pretender can get off the mark over hurdles in the following Agetur UK Maiden Hurdle over the longer trip of two miles and five furlongs at the expense of Olly Murphy’s San Fermin who returns after a break.

Oscar Montel makes a quick reappearance after finishing down the field in a chase at Market Rasen five days ago to carry top weight in the Class 3 Ignite Handicap Hurdle.

And lurking amongst the dangers are Faint Hope, second to the in-form An Tailliur here last week, and the ultra-consistent Solstalla, runner-up to the useful Kilmington Rose on her last appearance at the track in May.

The Colliers Saves Business Rates Handicap Chase sees top weight carried by Fat Sam, who won well at Stratford before returning to the course to finish runner-up to the rejuvenated Goa Lil. He may have his work cut out, though, to give 8lbs to Dan Skelton’s four-year-old Shentri.

Pillar Of Steel looks to add to her record of four wins already this season in the June Watts, Supporting The Air Ambulance Mares’ Handicap Hurdle, in which Sorbet is more than capable of defying the burden of 12-0, less her rider’s allowance, before Fine By Me, the choice from two entries by Nigel Twiston-Davies, can step up on his run behind Fifrelet to take the closing Dreamland Bedding Open National Hunt Flat Race

On Saturday, the course hosts a Pony Racing Education Day when more than 100 children will enjoy a morning of racing-themed activities before an afternoon of pony races on the course to encourage the next generation of stars.

More information about the event can be found at https://www.ponyracingauthority.co.uk/race/pony-racing-taster-day-warwick.

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