The ground was described as good to soft at Warwick on Tuesday morning and there is no further rain forecast. Perfect jumping ground.
In the opener Cadzand (12.20) is taken to go one better than when runner up at Ayr on soft ground on his seasonal reappearance and hurdles debut. A winner between the flags, his Bumper form – on good to soft – is strong and the winner in Scotland, Do Your Job, is entered in a listed contest at Haydock at the weekend.
Twominutes Turkish is penalised 6lbs for scoring at Fakenham on his hurdles debut but he finished behind the selection in a Newbury Bumper last season and I will be disappointed if the Dan Skelton 5-y-old did not confirm the form. The Philip Hobbs’ trained Kanukankan and Colin Tizzard’s newcomer Guy De Guye – half-brother to five winners – look bigger threats in an informative novice hurdle.The opening 9/4 was too big and the selection is 11/8 with BetVictor at the time of posting.
Arian was a rare first-time out winner for Philip Hobbs this season when scoring at Newton Abbot on her first start for the stable and a 7lbs rise looks fair. Nikap was never placed to challenge when third at Ffo Las on her chase debut but she jumped well in the rear. The drying ground is a slight concern, and the vote goes to Penny Mallow (12.55) who is a sister to recent chase winner Kapga De Lily and has an excellent record fresh. Both her hurdle wins were gained on soft ground but she won a Bumper on good and she could easily have won three of her four starts over timber last season given she jumped out to her left at Carlisle when runner up on her penultimate start. The each way recommendation is 5s with 10bet.
Present Man has already won a Veterans’ Chase this season at Chepstow from a 2lbs lower mark and ran another terrific race in his quest for a third Badger Beers Chase at Wincanton last time – finished sixth but badly hampered by a faller three out. Bryony Frost gets a good tune out of the 10-year-old and he is a worthy market leader. He is slightly better going right-handed, however, and I just prefer Strong Pursuit (3.15) despite reservations about the form of the Hobbs stable. The opening 12s with William Hill was a rick and the 5/1 with Boylesports is more realistic. He gets the ew vote.
The selection has a good record fresh and looked a potential future star when winning at Newbury on his chase debut three years ago. In the interim period the gelding has only seen the track three times but has dropped to a favourable mark and was due to run in the race won by Present Man at Chepstow last month but was taken out on account of the ground which was officially described as good – but was nearer good to firm.
Nada To Prada (12.30) was readily brushed aside at Hexham on her hurdles debut last month but the winner has franked the form by winning again under a penalty and Michael Scudamore’s mare has had a wind operation since that defeat. The mare – 4/5 with BetVictor – had previously scored in her sole point and Bumper and today’s forecast soft ground at Ffos Las should suit. The selection will get further than 2m in time, but she remains an exciting prospect and is taken to return to winning ways.
Catamaran Du Seuil (2.15) has gone well fresh in the past and has dropped to an attractive looking mark in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase. The selection was no match for Admiral’s Secret at Leicester on his last start back in January, but the winner followed up from a 5lbs higher mark and Dr Richard Newland’s 8-y-old is 8lbs lower in the weights than this time last year. The stable are in particularly good form and he can give weight and a beating to his seven rivals. The 8-y-old is 7/2 with 10bet.
Hill Sixteen cost £46,000 at Trevor Hemmings dispersal sale and is a big danger having his first start for Nigel Twiston-Davies. He never fulfilled his initial promise with Sue Smith but is certainly one to have on side for his new stable. Jonjo O’Neill’s Bean In Trouble is another danger and has been the initial market mover in a hot contest.
There is a cracking flat card at Kempton, and I am looking forward to seeing the return of Almodovar who has been off the track since finishing second in a Group One over a Mile at Longchamp in May 2018.
Johnny Drama is a short price to follow up his course win at the beginning of the month, but he is 6lbs higher this evening in a better race over an additional furlong. I just favour Tonyx (8.00) who looked an unlucky loser when a close fourth on her first start over 12f at Newbury last time. The filly – 9/2 with BetVictor – has never run on polytrack but won her sole tapeta start and I like the booking of Tom Marquand for Ed Walker’s four-year-old who has his string in such good form.