The wet weather seems to have held off for a few days so the cards are less affected. A bumper crop of Carlisle, Brighton, Wincanton, Wolverhampton, Chelmsford and Tramore are all hosting meetings today for plenty to sink our teeth into.
Kicking the day off over the jumps in Carlisle with a 2.5 mile handicap hurdle. Current favourite HIGGS is immediately eye-catching.
Making his seasonal debut a week ago at Exeter he ran a very creditable 3rd. He seemed to just not quite have the spark to get on terms to really press the front 2 yet only finished 1.75 lengths behind the winner. The race was a nice way to blow away the summer break cobwebs. He travelled smoothly and laid down his challenge 3 out only to find the lack of race fitness finding him out in the last 2 furlongs.
Higgs goes up in trip here from the 18.5 furlongs he contested last time out to 20 furlongs. The distance he was going close at last season. Running in mainly class 2’s and class 3’s, this drop down to class 4 makes him the obvious talent in the race. All the other runners are coming from class 5 or class 4. This should be a simple of case of pure talent wins. The handicap is 0-120 so he squeezes in as top weight with a rating of 118. Quite a low mark for the Dr Richard Newland trained 6 year old as he was running in handicaps off 127 last December. It’ll be a big ask to give lumps of weight away to rivals but with a run under him and everyone else looking less than inspiring it should be somewhat of a penalty kick for Higgs.
Over the Irish Sea to Tramore for the last race on their card. A Ladies professional/amateur Bumper. Only 9 runners are taking to the field for this one. A handy start was putting a line through anything already double figure odds. This cut the field down to 5 straight away as the bottom 4 in the market are 25/1 or higher already. Next in the betting from the bottom is Lady Rocco who only got going late in her INHF debut and made up a place. Slightly shorter trip here probably won’t suit as much, this one looks like she needs a longer trip. This cuts it down to Infinite Glory, The Rocking Chair, Hopefully and SILK WORM.
2 of these have opposed already with Silk Worm and Infinite Glory finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively in their last race. Silk Worm should be holding her opponent on that form as she passed Infinite Glory in the closing stages to steal the silver medal. The interesting development overnight is the market talking for one of Willie Mullins’, Hopefully. The odds have slowly been coming in after a less than appealing debut in a bumper 37 days ago finishing 10th of 16. Hopefully should be our pace setter here giving Silk Worm something to aim at from nearer the back of the field. Her age allowance means she’s only carrying 11st3 and a handy claimer booked in the saddle takes off a further 7lbs. Expect this one to come off the pace and finish with a rattle to notch her first win of her national hunt career.
Over to Wincanton for the first time today as at the end of their card is a 3 mile 1 furlong handicap chase. As with most handicaps over a stamina dependant trip you can start striking lines through the field one by one starting from the bottom of the betting.
Watching Brief doesn’t stay. Summer Getaway has more letters in his form than numbers. Anti Cool unproven over this far. Mr Satco ran course and distance 8 days ago…. badly. Mauna Kea pulled up first start back of the season. Love The Leader hasn’t placed since November last year. Torhousemuir doesn’t look like he stays either. The Boola Bee got an outrageous 15lb hike in the weights for a win in May beating Katalystic, who immediately reversed the form back in September off the revised weights. Plus, his wins were while carrying less than 10st which in jumps racing is frankly absurd. Shouldering a hefty 11st10 looks like it could derail his effort.
This leaves 2 left in the field. Our Uncle Pat and TAAFFES CASTLE. Getting 14/1 on the latter appeals enough to me for an each way punt. Compared to the 5/1 about Our Uncle Pat. Taaffes Castle’s form isn’t the most solid but he’s been running over 19-21 furlongs of late and I think this is too sharp a test for him. He posted his best efforts this season in a 3 mile 1 furlong race at Warwick and a 3 mile 2 furlong race at Newton Abbot. Coming 2nd both times. The Newton Abbot effort saw him and the eventual winner pull 11 lengths clear of the field so he was lumped with a harsh 6lb rise. This seemed to take away his competitive sting and he’s struggled since. This has actually led to his mark dropping to a handy 77, 2lbs lower than those placed efforts, and with Jack Tudor in the saddle, he’s well worth the 8lbs he can claim off the back of his mount here.
A return to an ideal trip, ground conditions to suit and a fair mark to work with hopefully brings back a revival in the 6 year old to go close at a big price.
Rounding out the day on the all weather at Chelmsford with a class 6, 1 mile handicap. Current favourite PARKNACILLA has some appealing form going into this one straight away.
Winning her last 2 runs over course and distance, this game filly seems to be on a real upward curve since switching to a synthetic surface. 8lbs higher in the weights than for that initial win it’s interesting to note Angus Villiers given the ride so he can claim back most of that hike in the weights.
Best work is done late on by the selection, she asserts her win in the final furlong and just keeps pulling away to the line. The margin of victory was bigger last time than on her debut on at Chelmsford. A healthy 28 days break to keep her sharp should see her going close again. Although she enters deeper waters here.
The last win was a 0-55 handicap, she takes on 0-65 here. This brings Letsbe Avenue into calculations as he sneaks in off 65 as 2nd top weight. Giving over a stone to a filly who’s showing an upward curve is going to be no easy task as she’s likely to improve again before the handicapper can really sink his teeth into her. She’s drawn a touch wide today in trap 7 but as she likes to be held up and finish with a wet sail it shouldn’t be too much of a bother as she’s won from trap 6 over course and distance before.