Soft ground at Wetherby for today’s jumps card as racing continues in Britain. The BHA and government were quick to deny unconfirmed reports circulating on Sunday night and Monday morning that a cancellation of all elite sport of up to three weeks was imminent. The BHA and all involved in British racing have done a wonderful job keeping the show on the road during the current health crisis although the same, disappointingly, cannot be said of some other sports.
Éclair D’Ainay (2.05) did us a favour when scoring at Chepstow last time and he is taken to defy a 14lbs rise in the weights. The second, third and fourth behind the selection are subsequent winners and the Skeltons’ lightly-raced seven-year-old – 13/8 with 10bet – has been given over seven weeks to get over his Chepstow exertions. The King Of May and Eragone ran big races in the Castleford Chase over the Festive period, but that was run on desperate ground and they will do well to reproduce those runs after just a 16-day break.
Bear Ghylls did us a favour at Exeter on Sunday and is unlikely to take up the engagement in the extended 2m 3f handicap hurdle. Elysian Flame finished behind Bear Ghylls on Sunday and is another unlikely to face the starter and preference is for Kayf Adventure (2.35) who has his second start for Micky Hammond.
The ew selection was a useful chaser for Philip Hobbs and was only beaten 5L at Ascot over the larger obstacles from a 12lbs higher mark less than 12 months ago. He reverted to hurdles here on his seasonal debut and first start for Micky Hammond and ran with considerable promise from the front. Leading conditional Kevin Brogan takes over in the saddle and I will be disappointed if he does not run a big race. The opening 18/1 with William Hill was too big irrespective of the 30p Rule 4.
The 3m Handicap Chase is a cracker and hat-trick seeking Little Red Lion was a fortunate winner for us at Taunton last time although the horse did not see much daylight during the race until nipping through on the home turn. With the David Pipe stable in such good form, he must go close but Ecossais (3.10) is another looking to make it three on the spin and he gets the vote for Oliver Greenall.
The ew selection – 11/2 with William Hill – was giving 21lbs to the second and third at Southwell last time when his jumping was exemplary. Another Emotion looks well handicapped on some of his form and ran a decent race over an inadequate trip in first-time blinkers last time. The Warren Greatrex yard have had a modest season, but they did have a winner last week and could be ready to fire.
At Newcastle, the Godolphin cast off Vintager was an impressive winner at Chantilly on his first start for Simon & Ed Crisford, but it is unsure what he beat. Ummalnar turned a listed contest into a procession at Dundalk last time but she carries a 3lbs penalty for that success. The vote, however, goes to Count Of Amazonia (5.30) who is unbeaten in two starts since joining Marco Botti and is now three from three on the all-weather.
The selection – 11/4 from 4s with Boylesports – beat Royal Ascot winner Khaloosy over 7f here on his all-weather debut and he is guaranteed to go on today’s tapeta surface. The winner of this valuable contest gets automatic qualification to Lingfield’s Finals Day at Easter.
Baileys Warrior (6.00) would have got up in another stride at Wolverhampton on her racecourse debut earlier in the month and this stiff track should suit with that experience under her belt. Ben Curtis takes over in the saddle on the filly who is an uneasy 2/1 market leader with Unibet. She will get a mile and more in time but it is interesting that she stays over 7f for her second start.