The ground was described as soft – good to soft in places – at Newbury on Tuesday ahead of today’s seven-race card with the prospect of further showers.
There is a terrific novices’ chase and the form of St Barts (1.10) second to Ofalltheginjoints at Exeter on his chase debut was dealt a blow when the winner was a bitter disappointment at Doncaster at the weekend. I am convinced that is not his running, however, and hope to see the Philip Hobbs trained 6-y-old go one better despite a 3lbs rise.
The selection – 10/3 from 7/2 with William Hill – won twice on heavy ground over timber but was pulled out of a recent engagement at Chepstow on account of similar ground. He jumped well at Exeter on his chase debut, but he has little in hand of Thegallantway on both hurdles form from Ascot earlier in the year, and at Exeter where the latter ruined his chance by constantly jumping out to his left. A return to a left-handed track should suit and the top-weight looks a big danger.
In the likely absence of Sizeable Sam who did us a favour at Wincanton on Tuesday I hope to see The Bomber Liston (2.20) make a winning hurdles debut for Nicky Henderson in the 2m 4f Novice Hurdle. This corresponding race has been won by some useful sorts in recent years and the selection looks sure to appreciate stepping up in distance having been a beaten favourite in his two Bumpers. The selection is 15/8 with William Hill.
In the conditional jockey’s handicap chase I wonder if Doitforthevillage (2.55) can return to something like his best form with Jack Tudor taking over in the saddle. The veteran – 6s with BetVictor – has finished second and third in his two runs over today’s C&D and jumped out to his left at Ascot last time. He is obviously not the force of old, but he has been given a chance by the handicapper and connections look to have found a good opportunity.
At Ludlow Misty Whisky (1.20) looks sure to appreciate the step up in distance having looked in need of further when staying on strongly from the last to score at Uttoxeter last time. Her penalty makes life more difficult this afternoon, but she was a winner of a Bumper here a couple of years ago and the forecast soft ground holds no terrors. The mare is 6/4 with BetVictor.
Harry Cobden bypasses Newbury for Shropshire and I hope to see Eritage (1.55) return to winning ways having finished runner up at Newbury last time from a 2lbs lower mark. The selection – 2s with 10bet – had previously won over today’s C&D on good ground, but he has run well on soft although he is unproven on heavy ground if conditions were to deteriorate.
In the finale at Lingfield I expect to see plenty of improvement from My Girl Maggie (3.20) who was weak in the market when a decent third at Kempton returning from a 159-day absence earlier in the month. The filly – 10/3 with 10bet – is a maiden after five starts, but I feel she is open to more improvement and I hope to see jockey Oliver Stammers make plenty of use of his filly.
Earlier in the card The Jean Genie (2.45) has been knocking on the door of late and is 11lbs lower in the weights than when runner up over today’s C&D 12 months ago. He carries top-weight this afternoon, but Richard Kingscote takes over in the saddle and the ew selection has the plum draw in stall one. The 6-y-old – 10/1 from 12s with William Hill – had to be taken back after nearly clipping heels here last time and I thought he ran a good race in the circumstances. He does need a decent gallop to be seen at his best, given he can be a tad keen, but can reward each way support.