There is light rain forecast for Taunton and safe to assume that the ground will ease slighlty from the description of good to firm – good in places – on Tuesday morning for today’s first meeting of the season.
Friend Or Foe (3.10) made all to win over today’s C&D back in December 2018 and was off the track for 537-days prior to finishing runner up at Chepstow earlier in the month. That success was gained on good to soft ground, but he would not want conditions any slower than that this afternoon. The Paul Nicholls’ trained five-year-old – 7/4 with BetVictor -races from the same mark as last time today and Lorcan Williams takes over in the saddle taking off a valuable 3lbs.
Get Back Get Back continues to run well on fast ground, but is creeping up the weights and a bigger danger might be the Evan Williams trained Winds Of Fire who was a decent stayer in his day for Charlie Appleby and was made favourite for a Carlisle handicap when last seen in February. The handicapper has dropped the five-year-old to a mark of 109 and he is still rated 88 on the level. A market move would be worth noting.
Folly Gate has only had three career starts but showed promise in all those runs over timber and is related to several chase winners. Chester Williams takes off 5lbs from the five-year-old who ran well here over hurdles.
A market move would be worth noting but Bathiva (3.40) is likely to hard to beat having his first start for Fergal O’Brien in the 2m 2f handicap chase.
The selection – backed from 6/5 to 5/6 with William Hill – is 10lbs higher than when scoring over today’s C&D for David Dennis back in February but the runner up – Desque De L’Isle – franked the form when scoring at Lingfield and he has joined a yard in flying form. His course win was gained on soft ground, but he ran well over hurdles on a quicker surface.
It hasn’t been a great 12 months for Ben Pauling but he did have a winner at Carlisle last week and first time out might be the time to catch Big Difference (4.10) who has gone well fresh in the past and needs a right-handed track to be seen at his best.
The selection did win over timber off just a 2lbs lower mark and he would have gone close but for sprawling four out over fences at Ludlow – always a tricky fence – when making his move back in January. Daryl Jacob takes over in the plate for the first time today and the 11/1 with BetVicor each way would look very attractive if it were not for the nagging doubt about the form of the stable.
Connections of Linelee King went to £75,000 to buy Plenty In The Tank (1.02) after the latter had beaten Linelee King in a Bumper at Chepstow 12 months ago. He makes his debut for Olly Murphy in the 2m Maiden Hurdle at Fakenham this afternoon. The selection – Evens with 10bet – made all on his sole Bumper run and Aidan Coleman is likely to try and make every post a winning one around these tight turns.
Duc de Bourbon has been a beaten favourite in both starts to date but has had a wind operation since finishing last of nine on soft ground at Kempton back in February.
Mick Pastor carried top-weight in the four-year-old handicap hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and ran a good race until fading from two out. The four-year-old is another Nicholls’ inmate who has had his wind tweaked since he last ran, and this sharp track should suit given he was very keen over hurdles.
I was disappointed with how tamely Timetochill (3.02) folded on her chase debut at Uttoxeter when attracting market support, but she fenced well enough until lack of a recent run took its toll. Both her hurdle wins were gained on sharp tracks – albeit right-handed – and she could easily get a soft lead. Leading conditional Jack Tudor takes off 5lbs and the 9/2 with Unibet looks fair although the market leader will be tough to beat.
Ella McCain got a good tune out of Multellie (2.50) at Redcar last time when runner up although a 3lbs rise is no help to Tim Easterby’s eight-year-old who clearly enjoys soft ground. The each way selection – 11/2 with BetVictor– has tried to make all in the past and there is every chance of him getting a soft lead in the 1m 6f handicap at Nottingham.