Racing takes a short Christmas break following today’s three meetings but will reconvene on Boxing Day with the feature event the midseason highlight, the King George VI Chase from Kempton Park.
Soft ground forecast for Huntingdon’s eight-race card and Harry Whittington has his first runner for over a fortnight. In the opening Novice Hurdle My Whirlwind makes her eagerly awaited racecourse debut having been off the track since winning her sole point in March 2019.
The mare cost JP McManus £400,000 and is a half-sister to chase winner Avoir De Soins but the latter is only rated in the 90s and the form of the point win is nothing special. Connections will be keen to get a win under her belt for the breeding sheds, but she is likely to be short enough in the betting.
Trainer Harry Whittington has not saddled a winner for 38 days and 38 runners and not had a runner in over a fortnight, but Poldark Cross (12.05) can run a big race on his second start for the yard. Another winner between the flags the each way selection – 4s with Unibet – finished runner up on his first start for the yard at Wetherby last month and that form has been franked by the winner – Fern Hill – who followed up at the Yorkshire track earlier in the month and is now rated 130.
Note Poldark Cross was taken out of a race at Uttoxeter earlier in the month with a self-certificate and this is something of a fact-finding mission for the stable before the start of the busy Christmas period.
I am keen to take on market leader Mr Washington in the 3m handicap hurdle even though he is chasing a four-timer for the excellent Tom Symonds. Lily Pinchin claimed 5lbs when the 7-y-old score at Ludlow last time and with the jockey unable to claim this afternoon she is, arguably, 12lbs higher in the weights.
The form of Coillte Eile’s third at Ascot on her first start for Fergal O’Brien has been boosted by the subsequent successes of the first two home and there is no question that she is well treated at present. Liam Harrison can take off a valuable 6lbs.
Marginal preference, however, is for Jonjo O’Neill’s March Is On (12.35) who bounced back to something like his best when runner up at Chepstow last time. Kevin Brogan takes off 3lbs and the selection – 7/2 with 10bet – is 2lbs below his last winning mark.
There are some well-bred newcomers in the concluding Bumper, but Silent Revolution (3.35) sets a decent standard having been very well backed at Wincanton on his racecourse debut before going down by just half a length. With that experience under his belt, the Paul Nicholls-trained four-year-old is taken to go one better.There was plenty of Evens around first thing but he is a best price of 4/6 on Tuesday morning.
The ground might be too soft at Sedgefield for My Renaissance and preference is for the mare Pottlereaghexpress (1.25) who gave the impression she would appreciate a return to a left-handed track when runner up at Hereford last time and a 3lbs rise looks fair. The selection – 5/2 with Boylesports – remains a maiden after 15 starts but she has finished runner up in two of her three chase starts and trainer Toby Lawes looks to have found a good opportunity for his charge. Jerry McGrath keeps the ride.
Fame And Fortune (1.45) is in the form of his life and a 6lbs rise may not prevent him winning his fourth race from his last five starts. I thought he improved again for the step up to 12f last time when he had to wait for a run, but he was well on top at the end. Adam Kirby rides Lingfield better than most and I expect him to again pounce fast and late on George Baker’s progressive 4y-old. The 2s on Monday looked too big and he is 11/8 with William Hill at the time of posting.