A number of excellent performances on Saturday, but two that stood out to my eyes were Copperhead (7s from 14s at BetVictor for the RSA Chase Non Runner No Bet) who was a class apart from his rivals in the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot and Emitom (12s from 20s NRNB for the Stayers Hurdle) after impressing when scoring in the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock.
The latter has Paisley Park to contend with at Cheltenham next month and I hoped initially he might be kept fresh for Aintree but watching the race again on Sunday morning, I felt a double-figure price was too big for such a talented and lightly-raced sort.
Lingfield Park are staging an all-weather card to replace Monday afternoon’s jumps fixture on the back of Storm Dennis. In the opener Ramatuelle made an eye-catching comeback when a close fifth over 10f here last month and has the ability to win off her current mark. She has a tendency to hang to her left, however, and preference is for Cheng Gong (1.30) who has been running consistently well in defeat of late and deserves to add to his Yarmouth success back in October. In an ideal world jockey Jack Mitchell would get a lead as his mount can be a tad free, but if nothing else goes on I would hope that he takes the bull by the horns and ensures it is a true gallop.
Ben Curtis takes over on Cheeky Rascal in the 1st division of the 10f handicap, but preference is for hat-trick seeking Tebay (2.00) who is 4lbs worse off with the Tom Ward-trained five-year-old. The selection overcame a poor draw to win at Kempton last time and Kent-based trainer John Best has his string in good form of late.
The filly Glitter Queen showed enough on her debut to suggest she will be up to landing a small race. Preference, however, is for the once-raced gelding Wise Eagle (3.40) who was forced to cover ground early from his wide draw but looked a sure-fire future winner when fourth over C&D last month.
The filly Vibrance (7.30) has won her last three all over Monday evening’s C&D at Kempton and a 5lbs rise for her latest success looks fair. Champion jockey Oisin Murphy has been plying his trade in Japan of late but had his first rides in Britain yesterday and he takes over on board James Fanshawe’s course specialist. Affluence was an impressive scorer at Chelmsford last time, and he represents a big danger although his ability to handle Kempton must be taken on trust.
Shaffire looked an unlucky loser at Lingfield on Saturday, but she has now finished second in three of her last four starts. She looks sure to go close for Nicola Currie who takes over in the saddle but Qatar Queen (8.00) may have bumped into one when runner up here last time and was almost 4L clear of the third. The filly would like a decent gallop to follow and there does not appear to be too much pace in the race, which is a concern, but I think she is up to defying her current mark. Olly Murphy’s Prompting is another to consider in a competitive heat.
Carlisle stage an all-hurdle card and Olly Murphy should know where he stands with his Fearless (2.15) given his Endlessly, who has followed up since, ran out a comfortable winner from Sao Maxence at Ayr last month. Murphy fits the five-year-old with a hood for the first time this afternoon and the slight drop back in trip should suit.
This stiff track should suit Bingo D’Olivate (5.00) and Brian Hughes, who was in the saddle for the selection’s last success, takes over in the saddle. That win came off a 6lbs lower mark and he doesn’t exactly look thrown in off his current mark, but connections appear to have found a very good opportunity in a moderate race.