Fighting Fifth Hurdle Is Here!

'He schooled this morning and was just electric'

The top-class 8-year-old mare Epatante attempts to win the Gr1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle for a third consecutive year on Saturday afternoon. She receives a 7lbs sex allowance taking on only four rivals yet is 7/2 second favourite for the Newcastle feature (16h10).

Voix Du Reve runs in the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle Racecourse on Saturday (Pic – Facebook – Scottish Racing)

Favourite for the 2- mile contest is her stable companion, last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle champion Constitution Hill. The 5-year-old was withdrawn from his intended start last week at Ascot due to unsatisfactory fast ground, and now travels up north with his stablemate for his seasonal debut where track conditions are soft.

“We’re not running scared of each other,” said trainer Nicky Henderson. “I was trying to avoid it and that was the whole point of Ascot. It seemed a perfectly good way of splitting them up and nobody losing out but that wasn’t to be.”

“You’d prefer to keep them apart, it seems the right thing to do for the owner’s benefit as much as mine, but when you’re lucky enough to have two Grade 1 hurdlers, we’ve really got to run in Grade 1 races.”

Henderson fancies that Epatante is ahead of where she was going into last year’s Fighting Fifth when she dead-heated for first with Not So Sleepy, but he was delighted at the prospect of Constitution Hill reappearing.

“He schooled this morning and was just electric,” the Seven Barrows trainer stated.

Newbury racecourse stage the Coral Gold Cup (17h05). A Premier Handicap Chase run over 3 miles and 2 furlongs, 16 runners contest for a first prize of £142,375 on good ground.

Lucinda Russell will walk the course at Newbury on Friday to check the ground is safe enough for the well-fancied Corach Rambler.

The eight-year-old won the Ultima Handicap Chase with a thrilling late surge at the Cheltenham Festival in March and is a 7-1 second favourite to land another valuable prize.

Corach Rambler warmed up for his main target with a fifth-placed effort over an inadequate trip at Carlisle last month.

The sole Irish runner, Busselton, trained by Joseph O’Brien, has attracted strong ante-post support during the week and the 5-year-old is now 6/1 favourite. A game winner of a Listowel handicap in September on his seasonal return, he must be respected for an in-form yard.

The David Pipe trained duo Gericault Roque and Remastered are also both not without chances in this open handicap, but the Scottish trained Corach Rambler is selected to land the prize.

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