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Wincanton Preview: Brook tough to beat

Brook created a huge impression when scoring last time out and can make the most of the weights he receives from Otago Trail to land the 2m novices’ hurdle that opens proceedings at Wincanton today (1.40).

The gelding was a bumper winner in France and shaped with plenty of promise on debut for trainer David Pipe when fourth of 12 to the now 142-rated Karezak in a hot juvenile hurdle at Chepstow.

The four-year-old then duly built on that effort when running out an easy winner of 1 2m 1f contest at Newbury earlier in the month in impressive fashion.

Brook travelled strongly on the heels of the leaders, and despite making a mistake at the third last cruised into the lead between the final two flights before drawing readily clear on the run-in to beat a previous winner in Norse Legend by 10 lengths.

It was a very taking performance in testing conditions which marked Brook out as a very smart prospect, and the son of Kandidate looks the type who has plenty more improvement left in the locker.

In receipt of 11lb weight-for-age allowance from main market rival Otago Trail he is going to be very tough to beat, and it’s interesting that the stable won this race 12 months ago with another similar type in Vieux Lion Rouge.

Trainer Harry Fry does tremendously well with his runners at the venue, and Blue Buttons can provide him with another success in the 2m 4f handicap hurdle (3.40).

The Dorset handler has a strike rate of just over 28.5% at the track in the past 12 months (eight winners and 11 placed from 28 runners) and in Blue Buttons has a mare with a progressive profile.

The seven-year-old landed two novice hurdles last season and ran really well on reappearance when a three lengths second of 11 to the smart Polly Peachum in a 2m 6f handicap at this track.

Blue Buttons was then far from disgraced when fourth at Sandown before returning to winning ways last time out over course and distance when making all and staying on strongly to beat Cadoudoff by 1 1/4 lengths off a mark of 126.

The daughter of King’s Theatre showed tremendously battling qualities to get the job done, and the pair finished fourth lengths in front of Earth Mover who is now just 5lb better off with the selection.

Given Blue Buttons’ upwardly mobile profile I don’t think that will be enough to turn around the placings, and with the prospect of better top come a 6lb rise in the weights may not be enough to stop her going in again.

Selections:
1.40: Brook (NAP)
2.10: Crookstown
2.40: Catherines Well
3.10: Atlantic Roller
3.40: Blue Buttons (NB)
4.10: Sobre Tresor
4.40: He’s A Charmer