Taunton has called a 7.30 inspection on raceday for Thursday’s card with the racecourse executive suggesting the met office are advising between 7-15 mls of rain will hit the track overnight. With that in mind it may be prudent to begin our preview at Musselburgh where champion Jockey Richard Johnson returns to the saddle just 37 days after he broke his arm in a fall at Exeter last month.
Johnson’s first ride back is aboard Olly Murphy’s Made For You who travels north in search of better ground. With further rain forecast conditions look sure to be extremely testing, however, and the vote goes to Missesgeejay (1.30) who is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time for Stella Barclay who brings her mare up from her base in Lancashire.
There is plenty of stamina in Overcourt’s (2.42) pedigree and he steps up in trip for his handicap debut for Ryan Mania and Sandy Thompson. The selection was no match for a couple of above average performers at Kelso over the minimum trip last time, but he was not given a hard time and he had the fourth nine lengths further back.
Celtic Flames (3.17) is still 3lbs higher in the weights than for his last win back in 2018, but he jumped out to his right when a never nearer third at Kelso off this mark last month and he gets the vote in the two-mile handicap chase. The selection is not the most fluent of jumpers, but he receives 5lbs from top-weight and likely market leader Ubaltique.
Red Risk has been dropped 4lbs since finishing third in a Novice Chase on his British debut and he looks are to go close stepping up in trip for his handicap debut at Ludlow. He must give 7lbs, however, including jockey’s allowance, to Truckin Away (2.15) and the latter gets a narrow vote for Philip Hobbs.
The seven-year-old drops back in distance to two-and-a-half miles the trip he won over timber and he has been dropped 1lb since finishing third at Taunton over three miles when he jumped and travelled well until finishing tamely. Today’s trip should be ideal.
In the finale Demopolis (5.00) reverts to timber having won over fences here last week when he didn’t jump particularly well but looked well handicapped for Philip Hobbs. The selection can run from the same mark this afternoon and it should be noted that he has two entries over timber on Tuesday and will escape a penalty if he wins today’s conditional jockeys’ event.
At Meydan I hope to see Charlie Appleby’s Well Of Wisdom (3.05) leave behind his moderate reappearance over 7f when he pulled hard and never got competitive. He is entitled to be less fresh with that run under his belt this afternoon and he is well housed in stall four.