The opening novice hurdle at Doncaster looks a competitive affair, but I can’t resist backing Zacony Rebel, who shaped much better than his finishing position would imply at the same course a year ago.
The son of Getaway fell when bang in contention at the last on his sole start in an Irish point in 2019, the form of which has worked out well, with the winner Evander developing into a useful novice chaser this season for Oliver Greenall.
Zacony Rebel has only run once since, when making a highly-promising hurdling debut here last January. He travelled really well that day and took up the running at the third-last, going as well as any. He didn’t see the race out, but the absence since suggests there may well have been a reason for that.
Toby Lawes had a quiet first season, but the ex-assistant trainer to Nicky Henderson has shown himself to be one of the bright young prospects of the National Hunt training ranks this season, with six winners and a further 16 places from 42 runners. His last six runners in the past fortnight have finished 211123, including a 40-1 second in novice company at Southwell on Monday.
Lawes sends Zacony Rebel on his own up to Doncaster from his Surrey base and that suggests the six-year-old is ready to run to a good level on reappearance.
0.5pts each-way Zacony Rebel @ 22-1 (WillHill, Bet365, 20-1 elsewhere)