Both today’s jumps cards in Britain passed their respective inspections although conditions look sure to be extremely testing at both Exeter and Hereford.
In the Mares Novice Chase at Exeter Momella (1.35) only got as far as the first when brought down at Huntingdon last time but had run very well on his chase debut at Newton Abbot when no match for the progressive Arian trying to give the winner 15lbs. Arian was too keen and paid the price when coming down two out at Cheltenham last weekend, but she travelled like much the best horse in the race a was a stone higher in the weights. If Momella’s confidence has not been affected she can give Harry Fry a third win in the race in the last half a dozen years. The mare is 6/4 with Boylesports.
Addici and Hooligan both won on their seasonal reappearance and both look fairly treated. The form of Addici’s Fontwell success looks suspect, however, and only Hooligan’s jumping kept him in the race against Mackenburg over 2m at Wetherby. The latter has since let that form down at Aintree although I am convinced Hooligan will improve for the step up in distance this afternoon.
He will do well, however, to give 4lbs to Brinkley (2.05) who has had his wind operated on for his first start of the campaign. The grey – 6/5 with 10bet – shaped with considerable promise in a couple of decent Bumpers in Ireland and was an impressive 15L winner of his hurdles debut at Newbury back in February. The runner up – Michael Scudamore’s Do Your Job – really should be unbeaten in three starts this season and he is currently rated 136. I am sure he has improved this term, but that piece of form does suggest Brinkley could be very well treated off an opening mark of 130.
At Hereford Demopolis (2.30) has been raised 1lb for finishing runner up at Ludlow on his reappearance and he can go one better in the 2m handicap hurdle. The selection – 5/4 with BetVictor – was claimer ridden last time and Richard Johnson takes over in the saddle although the partnership have not exactly clicked in three previous outings.
There could be a Cheltenham Festival winner on show as there is a terrific Hunter Chase at Down Royal and Billaway (2.55) can reverse recent Fairyhouse form with Stand Up And Fight. The selection – 2s with Unibet – finished runner up at Cheltenham in March and this slightly shorter trip than on his reappearance can see him gain revenge on the winner who was favourite for the Foxhunters at the Festival in 2019 but disappointed. Enda Bolger’s 8-y-old improved for the fitting of first-time blinkers last time, but will the headgear do the trick a second time?
Accrington Stanley (3.25) has been knocking on the door on the all-weather of late and I feel he can land the 6f nursery for George Scott. I remember watching him at Bath in the summer and thought there were races to be won with the juvenile but that has not yet been the case. The 11/4 with William Hill looks fair.