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Sport Preview: Dark Horses - Tues 08th Feb 2022

Dark Horses: Tues 8th Feb 2022

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2:10 Market Rasen – The Raven’s Return

There is a definite midweek feel to this card, but THE RAVEN’S RETURN could provide some decent value in this Class 5 Handicap hurdle.

He is a son of Scorpion, who always seems to pass on some quirks to his progeny, but he has managed to win 3 of his 29 starts under rules and whilst he perhaps hasn’t delivered on the potential he showed when making a winning debut over hurdles at Sandown in 2018, he has paid his way. The return to Class 5 looks to be the key to this horse, with his record in this grade currently showing 1,3,3 and a mark of 98, fully 15lbs lower than for his last win in 2020, looks workable.

He finished 3rd over this course and distance on Boxing Day, when he perhaps did too much work to chase down the leader on the soft ground and didn’t quite get home. He was beaten 10-lengths, but the winner and 2nd have run well enough since to suggest that form can be trusted and if anything, this is a weaker race. With another 2lbs back from the handicapper and Kevin Jones useful 3lb claim, it will be disappointing if he can’t make his presence felt.

1:15 Taunton – Norton Hill

All eyes will be on the 4-year-old Doctor Parnassus after his impressive win at Ascot last month, but he will need to confirm that form against his elders and NORTON HILL makes some decent appeal of his own.

Jack Barbers 6-year-old won a bumper at Wincanton in November on his racecourse debut, a race that has worked out well with both the 3rd and 4th winning in the interim. If anything, he improved on that to finish 2nd to Rainyday Woman (Paul Nicholls) on his hurdles debut at the same track in December.

Although he was beaten by 7-lengths, he was keen in the early stages and was left with far too much ground to try and make up in the closing stages. He kept on nicely at the finish and should have learned a great deal from that experience. With a more prominent ride, he should go close in this company given the ability he has shown.

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