Horse racing tips: Templegate’s NAP for in-form trainer looks a hot novice hurdler who could be anything

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TEMPLEGATE tackles Wednesday’s action confident of a Christmas bonus or two.

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GO TO WAR (3.35 Ludlow, nap)

Fergal O’Brien thought enough of this son of the Irish Derby winner Soldier Of Fortune to throw him into a hot Grade 2 bumper at Aintree’s Grand National meeting earlier this season. He’d been off for six months before that assignment so it was no disgrace to finish eighth. His hurdling debut ended in mishap after he jinked approaching the third-last flight and dumped poor Paddy Brennan on to the Exeter turf. He was going much the best at the time and confirmed his promise with a good third in testing company at Taunton last time out. He was still very green there but stayed on strongly once the penny had dropped. The winner of that race, Ballee, more than franked the form when scoring by a distance last time out. He doesn’t need much more to get off the mark here.

FIRE FLYER (2.35 Newbury, nb)

There are plenty of decent jumps horses in his family and he made a winning start for 14-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls in an Ascot bumper last October. He then looked very green and met trouble in running on his second start before the champion trainer gave him a break. He returned looking a different horse last month at Cheltenham. He was second in a Listed bumper there and gave the impression that there will be a lot more to come when jumping hurdles over a longer trip like this.

BUSTY BOY (2.45 Ayr, treble)

He didn’t show a lot over hurdles and has really come into his own since being sent chasing by trainer Daragh Bourke. He made a winning debut over the bigger obstacles at Kelso in October before returning to the Scottish borders for a good second there last time. It’s possible three miles at that stamina-sapping track stretched him a little bit and this drop back in distance looks a wise move. The handicapper has kindly left his mark alone and you would expect some improvement on what will be just his third outing in this form of the game.

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LATITUDE (12.40 Ludlow)

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Trainer Mel Rowley is in excellent form with a 33 per cent strike-rate in the past couple of weeks. She can add to that tally with this seven-year-old who looked pretty rusty on comeback at Cheltenham last time. It’s telling that the excellent Sam Twiston-Davies takes over from an amateur rider today and my fancy has won on both starts in the Shropshire countryside. He has also been successful in good company at Kempton over this trip and can go close again.

Templegate’s tips

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