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Warwick preview: Varom hot stuff on handicap debut

David Metcalf | November 18, 2015

Trainer Paul Nicholls has his team in good form, and Varom can take advantage of what looks a lenient mark to provide the Ditcheat handler with another success in the 2m conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle that opens proceedings on a cracking card at Warwick (12.40).

The gelding won his sole start in a French bumper in 2012, and shaped with bags of promise on hurdling debut for Nicholls when second of 10 to Gone Too Far in a decent contest at Wetherby back in 2013.

After racing keenly on the heels of the leaders, Varom kept on nicely to be beaten 2 3/4 lengths without being unduly knocked about.

The winner is now rated 125, and Varom finished a length in front of the third home Gassin Golf who is now rated 140.

That represents strong form in the context of this class 4 contest and suggests that Varom is potentially thrown-in at the weights of an opening handicap mark of just 109.

Although the six-year-old has been off the track for nearly two years after failing to shine in two subsequent outings, the fact that connections have persevered with him suggests that Varom retains plenty of ability.

I also believe that first time up is often the best time to catch horses returning from a lengthy absence, and unlike the vast majority of his rivals Varom remains unexposed and open to plenty more improvement.

Sceau gets Royal approval

Elsewhere on the card there are some really classy types in action.

The Simon Munir and Isaac Souede owned Sceau Royal (13.10) and Bristol De Mai (14.20) both look worthy red-hot favourites to land the spoils, whilst all eyes will be on Yanworth in the 2m novices hurdle (14.50).

Exeter

Yanworth was one of the leading bumper horses last season when winning twice, and made an impressive debut over hurdles at Exeter earlier in the month when barely having to break sweat to score by 1 1/4 lengths.

The Alan King trained five-year-old is currently a 16/1 shot with Coral for the 2016 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and looks a most exciting prospect.

If Yarnworth is to make up into a serious contender for Cheltenham Festival honours then he should really be winning this with the minimum of fuss, and with Barry Geraghty in the saddle can do just that en route to much better things.

Selections:

12.40: Varom (NAP)
13.10: Sceau Royal
13.45: Hollies Pearl
14.20: Bristol De Mai (NB)
14.50: Yanworth
15.20: Eastern Witness
15.50: Inner Loop

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