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Decisions, decisions
09th November 2013
Today is one of those days when I wish I could be in two places at once. There's good quality racing at both Wincanton and Sandown, but as I'm a big fan of novice chases, the runners in these was always going to be the deciding factor. It's a shame that there are only four runners in each, but the chance to see Grandouet make his debut over fences was too good to miss.

Grandouet hasn't been a lucky horse for me - I backed him ante-post at 16/1 for the 2012 Champion Hurdle, only for him to get injured and miss the race. I then didn't back him for the 2013 renewal of the race (mainly because I'm also a big Rock On Ruby fan) and I thought he was going like a winner until he fell. It looks as if Nicky Henderson has found the ideal opportunity for him to open his account over the larger obstacles. I'm hoping I get as good a photo of him as I did of last year's winner, Overturn - I was really pleased with this shot.

Despite the small field, the novices chase at Wincanton looks a tricky contest. It was a greatly improved effort (following a breathing operation) by Third Intention at Cheltenham, but the only other runner Rebel Fitz didn't jump brilliantly and was giving Third Intention 8lb. Fox Appeal did nothing wrong at Fontwell and I think he was unlucky to be headed on the line, but he is facing much stronger opposition today. Wonderful Charm was impressive when winning from Bear's Affair at Fakenham at the end of October and todays race is one that Paul Nicholls targets. However, Meister Eckhart has very useful hurdle form on soft ground, is getting weight from both Third Intention and Wonderful Charm. With the assistance of Wayne Hutchinson in the saddle, I think he can make a winning debut over fences.