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The Inside Track on the Kim Muir Challenge Cup

| 09.03.2014

With the Kim Muir being restricted to amateur riders, jockeyship is almost as big a factor as the form of your selection.

The likes of Nina Carberry and Derek O’Connor on a horse can mean the difference between winning and losing so it’s worth keeping a close eye on the newsreels in the days leading up to the race for any significant jockey bookings.

The race is normally one of the most competitive of the week, and with a field 24 runners ridden by inexperienced riders it’s not for the faint hearted.

The current market is headed by progressive novice chaser INDIAN CASTLE, who is bidding to go one better for the connections of last year’s runner up Super Duty, who was nailed on the line having gone off a heavily-backed favourite.

With leading amateur O’Connor booked, he has an obvious chance off the back of an impressive success in a hot handicap run here on trials day. He’d previously split smart novices Many Clouds and Pinerolo at Wetherby and this sound jumper should run a big race against a field of mainly exposed types.

Donald McCain often targets this race, having won it twice in recent years with Cloudy Lane and Ballabriggs.

A saver on the Paul Nicholls-trained There’s No Panic is also advised. This horse has a preference for good ground so the drying forecast will be music to Paul’s ears.

He was last seen running down the useful Court By Surprise in the London National at Sandown in December. Last spring, he ran an eye-catching race in the Bet365 Gold Cup having looked the winner turning for home before stopping quickly.

Like many of Nicholls’ horses, he was sent off for a breathing operation over the summer and his finishing effort since has been much more encouraging. So, off the same sort of mark as that Sandown run and with the competent Will Biddick likely to be riding, he’s taken to run a big race.

Selection: Indian Castle

Alternative: There’s No Panic