The ground was given as good to soft at Wetherby on Tuesday morning and in the novices’ handicap chase over the minimum trip I feel market leader Doukarov is vulnerable given I’m not convinced it was the strongest of races that he won at Taunton last time – Buck’s Son was long odds on in running but threw the towel in again – and he is 5lbs higher today.
Exelerator Express has the scope to jump a fence and ran well on his chase debut when fading over an additional half mile at Sedgefield. He must go close, but I thought Funambule Sivola (12.50) ran well at Huntingdon on his last start over timber when he helped force too strong a pace, but only gave way between the last two flights. He has yet to race left-handed and did show a slight tendency to jump to his right over timber, but he represents the inform stable of Venetia Williams and has had his wind operated on ahead of his reappearance. The 9/2 with 10bet looks fair.
I was disappointed when the exciting Soaring Glory failed to give 6lbs to Dusart at Newbury when perhaps Jonjo O’Neill gave the winner too much rope conceding weight. He is unlikely to meet anything of Dusart’s class today and he did have the third the best part of 10l further back at the Berkshire track.
Some Reign (2.25) was an unlucky loser when coming down at the last with the race, seemingly, in safe keeping at the Charlie Hall meeting here last month and he meets the winner – Ballyvic Boru – on 2lbs better terms despite a 2lbs rise in the weights. Ben Haslam’s Protek Des Flo has the beating of the selection on Kelso running back in February, but that success was gained on the heavy and he is at his best in deep winter ground. I am surprised the Rose Dobbin charge is not clear market leader and the 4s with BetVictor looks fair.
Azzuri was gambled on when runner up at Southwell during the summer, beaten less than a length on good ground, and he ran another decent race when third the following month from a 5lbs higher mark. The gelding has subsequently been beaten 217 lengths in his last four starts, but the handicapper has relented, and he is now 8lbs lower than when second back in July. Still only eight, although he seems to have been around for years, he is not one to give up on just yet although it might be the spring, and a return to genuine good ground, before we see him back to his best.
In the 3m 1f handicap chase at Hereford Cuban Pete bids to follow up his recent Stratford success from a 5lbs higher mark and he was well held from this mark last term. His course record reads 3114, however, and he has won three of his thirteen career starts.
Garrane (3.20) ran a decent race on his reappearance at Chepstow rallying having been headed to be beaten 4L by a couple of useful types. That was at a time when the Jeremy Scott yard were out of sorts, but they had a winner at Wincanton last week and were, arguably, unlucky not to have a treble.
Garrane has bits of chase form behind Glen Forsa and The Two Amigos – albeit from 2018 – that makes him luck very well treated at present although he has never been the most consistent of animals. The each way recommendation is 8 from 9/1 with BetVictor.
Earlier in the card I hope to see Hoi Polloi (12.40) make a winning hurdles debut for Emma Lavelle. The gelding won a decent Kempton Bumper on his racecourse debut earlier in the year and is an exciting prospect. The second, third and fifth home have subsequently won – albeit in modest company – and he is an exciting prospect. There was 11/4 available early doors but at the time of posting he is a best price of 6/4 with Boylesports. Her Majesty the Queen owns the well bred Henderson newcomer Rapid Flight – a market move would be worth noting.
At Lingfield recent Wolverhampton winner Kryptos is, arguably, 8lbs higher for that tapeta success given he carries a 5lbs penalty and Megan Nicholls is no longer able to claim 3lbs. Yes My Boy – third at Dunstall Park – has the beating of Kryptos at the revised terms and it is possible that he might get a soft lead this afternoon under Hollie Doyle.
The vote, however, goes to Plantadream (12.30) who suggested that a return to 10f would suit when a fast-finishing second over a mile here last time. Jamie Spencer was in the saddle when the selection scored at Ascot back in the summer and he returns to the plate this afternoon. He cannot afford to get too far back if the race turns tactical, but he has a good turn of foot at his best and is taken to give weight and a beating to his five rivals in a terrific little race. The selection is 7/4 with 10bet.