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Dark Horses 1st April

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3:30 Ayr – Flic Ou Voyou

This is a valuable Listed prize and with Paul Nicholls straining every sinew in his bid to try and retain the Trainer’s title, this could be a good time to side with FLIC OU VOYOU. He has won just 1 of his 4 starts this season, which was an 8-length win over subsequent Kempton scorer Jacamar in a match race at Doncaster in November, but he has run with great credit since. Most notably last time out at Sandown, where he split the very progressive Killer Kane and Dorking Boy over this intermediate trip. He was carried left by the winner on the run-in and was a little unlucky not be closer than the 1 and a quarter length that he was beaten. Decent ground looks to be the key to this horse as all 6 career wins have come when there has been “good” in the going description, so it is important to take any significant rainfall into account. He is unpenalized in this company and as a result, he gets 8lbs from his rivals and that could be enough to sway things in his favour under Bryony Frost.

1:20 Newbury – Dragon D’estruval

This is a competitive Hunters’ Chase to start the Newbury card, but with several in with chances it could be worth taking a chance on DRAGON D’ESTRUVAL each-way. Trained by Philip Rowley, this 9-year-old reached a peak rating of 147 under rules and arrives at Newbury having won 2 of his last 3 starts between the flags. He beat Always on the Run by a distance on his last start at Horseheath in February and has enough form under rules to suggest he could play a hand. Last season he ended his campaign with a 7th placed finish behind Mister Fogpatches in the Grade 3 Handicap chase at the Punchestown festival and although these are much calmer waters, it is perhaps significant that connections have chosen to come here instead of heading to Aintree next week.

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