There is a terrific card this afternoon at Bangor-on-Dee who are likely to race on good ground given there is little, if any, rain forecast in the build up to today’s seven-race card.
In the valuable two-mile handicap hurdle the grey Teqany has been raised 5lbs for comfortably seeing off the challenge of Ferrobin at Newton Abbott at the beginning of the month although the runner up may not be the heartiest of battlers.
El Borracho disappointed on his handicap debut at Stratford when he was a bit keen and did not jump with the same fluency as was the case when scoring at Southwell on his penultimate start. They are both respected, but I just favour Kajaki (1.40) who was pulled out of a race at Perth recently on account of the rain-softened ground. The ew selection – 5/1 with William Hill – won two hurdles for Kevin Ryan before joining Nicky Richards last term and he caught my eye when runner up to Pagero to Doncaster back in December.
It was not much of a race that Lock’s Corner won at Southwell – favourite failed to finish – but he was very impressive and a 10lbs hike in the weights may not prevent him following up. The vote, however, goes to Pogue (2.15) who got bogged down on soft ground at Musselburgh on his final start last season but had won at Doncaster on his penultimate start. Donald McCain loves having winners at his local track and his grey will, I hope, give it a good go from the foot. I feel the 7/2 with William Hill is fair.
There is a good card at Sedgefield and in the novice hurdle over two-and-a-half miles I feel the return to decent ground – allied to a recent wind operation – can bring about a revival in fortunes for Young Lieutenant (2.25) who represents the yard of Warren Greatrex who saddled a winner at Perth last week. The selection – 8/11 at bet365 – was bogged down on soft ground last winter, but I remember thinking he was a sure-fire future winner when runner up to Sir Valentine at Newbury back in November.
The selection receives 5lbs from Fortunate Fred courtesy of Jack Tudor’s allowance, but the latter is a big danger having fell at the last over today’s C&D when just a length behind Marine One who landed the valuable handicap at Market Rasen at the weekend.
Sam England has his string in good form, and I feel My Renaissance (4.10) may be a shade overpriced in the 2m handicap chase. There is plenty of pace in the race and the selection won over C&D from a 16lbs higher mark last August. The ground was softer than ideal at Cartmel last time and he has run some of his best races around today’s C&D. The 7s with bet365 looks a fair ew price given the form of the yard.
At Ayr Baryshnikov (3.50) is taken to follow up his recent Chester success when he got his reward for a number of consistent efforts. I felt he should have won at Windsor on his penultimate start and the winner – Victory Chime – franked the form at Pontefract last week. David Barron’s four-year-old is only 1lb higher this afternoon and Robbie Downey – who was in the plate at Chester – keep the ride. The 7/2 with 10bet looks fair.
James Bethell’s lightly raced maiden Abbotside failed to handle the soft ground at Ripon last time but will appreciate the return to a sound surface. He represents a big danger with Kevin Stott in the saddle.