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Horse Racing - Racing: Keith Melrose's Uttoxeter Tips

Uttoxeter's bet365-sponsored card on Sunday is one of the biggest fixtures in the summer jumps programme. Racing Post betting editor Keith Melrose shares his best bets on the card.

Onward Route
13:30 Uttoxeter @ 2/1
1pt win

Sirobbie
15:00 Uttoxeter @ 14/1
1pt each-way

Bathiva
15:35 Uttoxeter @ 7/2
1pt win

Take Route one

The opening Price Promise At bet365 Novices' Hurdle is a competitive event of its type for the time of year. Plenty could be winning similar events or improving in handicaps before the summer is out, but Onward Route has the jump on all of them and is expected to prove too strong.

This son of Yeats already has plenty of sound form in bumpers (including jumpers' bumpers) and over hurdles for Rebecca Menzies and he did not have to be at his best to win at Hexham two weeks ago.

He carries a penalty for that success, but remains with improvement in him and his dam and half-brother recorded their best form in summer, so he is not being kept on the go on a wing and a prayer.

Brian Hughes, who rode Onward Route at Hexham, instead rides useful chaser Presentandcounting for Donald McCain, but that horse has struggled to catch light this summer and looks opposable with a solid sort.

Airse, Sirobbie

David Bridgwater is a dab hand at training horses for big prizes, such as Wyck Hill in the 2014 Eider and The Conditional at last year's festival.

Sirobbie looks to be another laser-targeted staying chaser, as it is fancied he has been trained for almost a year with the Listed bet365 Summer Cup in mind.

This horse has had the minimum three runs over fences to qualify for this big handicap, only one of them for his current trainer.

That was at Ludlow in November, when he travelled best only to be beaten by a couple of race-fit rivals on his first outing since May. He has been compaigned over hurdles since, building up his form before winning at Huntingdon last month under Lily Pinchin.

As a result of patient campaigning, he is on an appealing mark of 122, which makes him well handicapped on the form he has shown for this yard, let alone his best with Harry Whittington.

He is bred to make a better chaser and his current trainer does much better with runners over fences. He will stay and clearly has a good rapport with Pinchin, who can demonstrably do the sub-10st weight. It is hoped that this can prove to be another well-executed Bridgwater plan.

History repeating for O'Brien

Bathiva has won four of his nine starts for Fergal O'Brien, three of them off a break of seven weeks or more. He returns to action for his first run since May in the bet365 Handicap Chase, a race he won last year, with plenty in his favour once more.

While Bathiva is 6lb higher in the weights than last year, in his six starts since he has improved by a similar amount on Racing Post Ratings and there is reason to think there might be more to come yet.

He signed off for the winter with a win at Ludlow and his only start since he was fifth in a stronger race than this at Kempton.

He lost a shoe that day, and was sent off at a price which suggests connections left something to work on with him. A break before returning to this race would suggest it has been the plan all along and he can take this race for the second year in a row.

By Keith Melrose

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