The Ladbrokes Trophy from Newbury and Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle are the weekend highlights and there is little rain forecast for either track this week although the Met Office have got their mid-range predictions spectacularly wrong in recent weeks – see Proschema and Lostintranslation.
Good ground forecast at Sedgefield today, and Gold Fields is likely to be given a much higher rise in the weights, when the new marks are announced this morning, for his facile Fakenham success last week than the 7lb penalty he carries this afternoon. That said the race did not take much winning with the Dan Skelton trained favourite failing to fire.
Cybalko (12.46) has been raised 7lbs for his fluent win over an additional half mile here earlier in the month, but he led from just past halfway on that occasion and he will be tough to pass if jumping with the same accuracy. He was rated higher than his current mark when trained by David Bridgewater and he is taken to follow up with Jonathan England likely to make plenty of use of his mount back at the minimum trip.There was 3s available first thing but he is a best price 5/2 with BetVictor at the time of posting.
The good ground is a slight concern for a number of the runners in the staying chase, but I felt Nortonthorpelegend (1.16) ran well when third in what I felt was a much better race than today’s here earlier in the month. He has been dropped 1lb by the handicapper and has won on good ground in the past. He opened up 3s across the board but was into 9/4 with Boylesports on Monday evening.
Equus Dancer jumped very well when scoring over C&D on his chase debut and he has little to fear at the revised weights with Just Call Me Al who was beaten when coming down at the last. That does not tell the whole story, however, as the Gillian Boanas 7-year-old never got into the race and is likely to be ridden more prominently today.
The vote, however, goes to Slanelough (2.16) who has his tongue tied down for the first time today and should be suited by this intermediate 2m 3f+ trip. The selection – 3s with 10bet – has yet to win in 12 starts over fences but he has won a Bumper and a couple over hurdles and I feel he can give weight and a beating to today’s rivals.
At Southwell Dubai Outlaw has won three of his last four including at Stratford on his chase debut last time. He has been raised 11lbs for that success, however, and I am giving another chance to Something Like Herbie (1.07) who finished third in a much better race at Ffos Las on his reappearance before a slightly below par effort at Stratford last time. Dubai Outlaw likes to lead but is unproven over three miles. I hope the selection – 3s from 11/4 with BetVictor – can outstay the market leader even giving away a stone.
At Lingfield Lequinto (12.55) continues in excellent form and, while no match for Fox Duty Free last time, he is taken to return to winning ways with Tom Marquand taking over in the saddle on Tony Carroll’s progressive three-year-old who had won his two previous starts at Wolverhampton. It is possible that he is a better horse on tapeta, but he is well drawn in stall two and did meet a well handicapped rival here at the beginning of the month. The recommendation is 3s with Unibet.
Hasty Sailor (3.25) has been off the track since finishing fourth over today’s C&D in a 12f Maiden. The third went on to win his next three and is now rated 104. A rating of 70 should be within the compass of Sir Michael Stoute’s colt who is by Fastnet Rock out of a moderate 1m 6f winner – rated 71 – and has had his wind tweaked since his last start. I hope Ryan Moore can get his mount out on terms from a good draw in stall five this afternoon. The colt was as big as 15/8 when betting opened but, at the time of posting, is into a shade of odds on at 5/6.