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To the Victor the spoils at Hexham; GET IT READY! Richard Birch's weekend punting guide.

THE history books will inform future generations how Brits went crazy with delight during the first week of June in 2011 - not because The Queen won the Derby, but due to parking wardens going on strike!

Carlton House does have a decent chance at Epsom, but I prefer Pour Moi, a colt who ticks every box for the Downs - balance, speed, class and stamina. The value has long evaporated in this dry summer, though, and a better wager can be found in the 3m1f handicap chase at Hexham courtesy of Sierra Victor.

I napped Andrew Parker's eight-year-old in this column 28 days ago, when he found only the dropped-in-class Checkerboard his superior. He did absolutely nothing wrong that day, and a mere reproduction of that performance would be enough.

The race which follows the Derby, a 1m4f handicap, appears booked for the Luca Cumani-trained Bourne. The grey has been campaigned with typical patience by his trainer, and seems poised to land a valuable middledistance event this term. Stall one should enable his rider Kieren Fallon to angle Bourne into a decent stalking position, and he can confirm in the final two furlongs that he remains a step ahead of the handicapper over today's longer trip.

Course-and-distance scorer Shamdarley appeals off bottom-weight in the Doncaster opener, while greyhound punters should get stuck into Men Of Hope to retain his Champion Hurdle crown - the heats of which are staged at Wimbledon tonight.

Competition favourite Sizzlers Spirit is the best jumper in training, but will do well to overcome a terrible trap three draw in his heat. The value lies with Men Of Hope.

Birchy's bets Today Sierra Victor 3.20 Hexham Bourne 4.50 Epsom Shamdarley 2.20 Doncaster Ante-post Men Of Hope to win Champion Hurdle, 10-1 Bet365, Coral
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 4, 2011
Words:298
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