13:50 – Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4) (4yo+) 2m47y
Rakhine State and Fanzio both carry a winner’s penalty but the latter is 5lbs better off as he gets a 4yo weight for age allowance. Both would want some ease in the ground and have run against some fair sorts so there’s not a great deal between them.
Curramore won on stable debut but has been well beaten since although this drop back in trip looks likely to help and, on a form line through Rakhine State with Zero Ten (both beaten 20l albeit in different disciplines), might not be too far away from that rival at least.
Fast And Friendly is making his hurdle debut but that switch would need to bring about serious improvement on what he’s shown in bumpers. Snookered is a typical racing club horse in that he runs ok in the main and has been kept busy this season but he’s looking exposed because of that. The booking of Danny McMenamin is a positive (Jockey and Trainer had 14l winner on Tuesday).
Fourth Of July would need the hood to help him settle but is another whose form doesn’t read well, even in this standard of race.
Both Falmouth Light and Gripper switch codes here but the former was rated around a stone higher on the flat but stamina and the going areworries for him. Gripper required headgear and an all-weather surface to put up his best efforts on the flat so this may well be a fact-finding mission.
Selections – Rakhine State, Fanzio, Curramore
14:25 – Handicap Chase (Class 3) (5yo+ 0-140) 2m
Marracudja is not the most prolific of winners but he’s been in the first three on more than half of his chase starts to date. He did run poorly round here in September on stable debut but appears to be in better form now. Theflyingportrait is now just 4lbs higher than his last winning mark and has won round here over fences albeit of a 21lb lower mark. This is much easier than his last two engagements and his last three runs in this Class have yielded two wins and a second.
Capitoul had been progressive this season and although this demands a career best he’s been kept fresh and has had a recent wind op. His last race under Henry Brooke was a commanding 10l win at Huntingdon but he was allowed to get away from the field that day. Foxtail Hill may be a 10yo but he’s not been in bad form considering the company he’s been keeping and he’s now down to a very dangerous mark of 129. The drop back to 2m could help further if he’s allowed to dictate but he’s not completed here in two starts. On balance though he looks to have a big chance at the weights.
Double W’s is making his comeback after almost a year off the track and he’s another who is weighed to be competitive, however his latest form suggest he’s best watched. Eyes Of A Tiger looks to put an 18 months absence behind him and he probably didn’t get to show his best which means his mark might not be beyond him but he’s clearly had issues and races without the usual hood.
Curious Carlos is due to run here on Wednesday and is a course and distance winner and appears to be very well treated.
Selections – Theflyingportrait, Capitoul, Foxtail Hill, Curious Carlos
15:00 – Handicap Hurdle (Class 4) (4yo+ 0-105) 2m47y
The bottom three here are all out of the handicap and easily dismissed. At the opposite end, recent winner Haasab tops the weights and, although he’s proved quirky, he won well after a wind op in a visor so the 6lb rise looks manageable if his attitude holds up.
Las Tunas bids for a hat-trick of wins but this time reverts back to hurdles off a very attractive looking mark. Captain Courageous has a long line of 0’s next to his name but his latest start when fifth was encouraging enough and most of those heavy defeats came in very good company at big prices. The tongue tie used on his last start is left off here and, while he’s yet to place, I think he’s interesting at the very least. He also had Viscount Wilson well behind on his last start and meets that runner on better terms now.
Contre Tous, previously with Paul Nichols, was once rated in the 120’s so his mark and the 7lb claim of Danny McMenamin mean he’s attractive and as mentioned earlier, the trainer and jockey provided with a 14l winner on Tuesday.
Selections – Contre Tous, Haasab, Las Tunas, Captain Courageous
15:30 – Handicap Chase (Class 2) (5yo+ 0-150) 2m4f20y
Bigmatre hasn’t been anywhere near himself this season so it wouldn’t be easy to suggest he can land this under Page Fuller for the first time. However, he beat Cyrname off a 3lb lower mark and landed a Grade 2 Novice chase this time last year so he’s hard to ignore. Nuts Well is beginning to look held for win purposes off his current mark but he often runs well.
Piton Pete looks capable of handling his 4lb hike after a decent win and this trip appears to be his optimum. His jumping is a big worry though, whereas Saint Leo jumps well but might still need to come down in the weights to be competitive. The step back up to 2m4f looks a smart move but he’d ideally want some rain.
Gardefort can’t be ruled out given he’s racing off his lowest mark in two years and had hinted on his penultimate start there was still something about him. Recent winner Wicked Willy is up 8lbs and would need to improve again to take this although he has stamina in abundance. He is winless in three starts here despite being sent off at 3/1 or shorter on each occasion.
Graineyhill is the sole Irish runner but was comfortably beaten round here last July in a Novice Chase event but that did come over 2m. Ballyvic Boru had a recent spin over hurdles which should have put him spot on for this and he looked like a horse who hasn’t finished improving last summer.
Selections – Bigmatre, Saint Leo, Gardefort, Ballyvic Boru
16:05 – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) (4yo+ 0-130) 3m2f127y
From Eden landed a nice Handicap at Ayr earlier this month and he’s been sent off favourite on each of his 4 starts for Gordon Elliott. That is likely to remain intact here and the extra two furlongs could bring about further improvement
Bordeaux Bill has won 4 times out of 8 starts over hurdles but he doesn’t scream out that he wants this trip. Carrolls Milan comes here looking for a third win in succession but this is another who might just find this far enough
Niceandeasy’s best recent form came when sporting first time cheek pieces so the reapplication of those and Billy Garritty back in the saddle suggest he can go well off an ok mark. Mighty Thunder has been in fair form since his wind op and ran well enough over this trip last time to suggest he can step forward and play a part from bottom weight.
Selection – From Eden
16:35 – Hunters’ Chase (Class 4) (5yo+) 2m7f180y
I think the top four have chances in this but I’d be happy to swerve Mr Mercurial because of his 8lb penalty. That means Double Whammy, who has course form, makes it onto the slip alongside Forgotten Gold and Play The Ace. The former has had a nice couple of comeback runs which suggest he’s ready to run well here and the latter is the youngest in the field with winning form earlier this season.
Selections – Double Whammy, Forgotten Gold, Play The Ace