A terrific days racing with the start of the Dubai Carnival and ninety-three runners due to face the starter at Ludlow this afternoon for what promises to be a competitive seven-race card although they will have to pass a 7.30 inspection on Thursday morning.
The two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase is a cracker and top-weight Enzo D’Airy is two out of three over fences but is 9lbs worse off with Faustinovick (2.10) for the 5L he finished ahead of the selection at Chepstow back in November over the minimum trip.
Faustinovick – 7/2 with William Hill – was given a poor ride when mugged on the line back in south Wales last month and a 7lbs hike looks prohibitive at first glance, but he jumped superbly on that occasion and remains open to further improvement. The form of the Colin Tizzard yard remains a cause for concern, but he gets a narrow vote ahead of Catamaran Du Seuil who also finished second last time but has been left on the same mark this afternoon.
Sandymount Rose (2.40) put behind a frustrating run of seconds when scoring in a conditional jockey’s contest over 3m at Exeter ten days ago. The mare – 15/8 with 10bet – has been raised 7lbs for that win, but her new mark does not kick in until the weekend. Sam Twiston-Davies takes over in the saddle and the mare gets a narrow vote ahead of Robin Gold and Bond’s Lover.
Robin Gold has had an excellent season and ran a terrific race over a trip, arguably, on the sharp side at Sandown in listed company last time. She gets on very well with Bridget Andrews and is a big danger.
Favori De Sivola did us a favour when causing a 16/1 shock at Taunton last time when he jumped the nine fences very well on good ground. Had eight fences not been omitted due to the low sun it is likely that he would have won by much further than the neck he had in hand, but that success was gained on good ground and he may not be quite as effective on heavy ground at Wincanton.
The Evan Williams trained Supreme Escape (1.50) mugged Faustinovick – see above – at Chepstow over 2m 3f last time from an 8lbs lower mark but the step up in trip to an extended 3m 1f should see him in an even better light today given he has already won at the distance over hurdles. The selection was backed from 5/2 into 15/8 at William Hill.
I hope it’s a good day for Williams as Mack The Man (3.20) is taken to make a successful return to timber. The selection – 6/4 with BetVictor – has disappointed in two runs over fences – jumped well enough at Ascot in a hot race last time – so far this season but did win a competitive listed handicap hurdle at Sandown from a 5lbs lower mark last term. He would have been placed in the Betfair Hurdle had he not been brought down at the last from a 3lbs higher mark and should have the race run to suit with Rosie And Mille likely to ensure a decent gallop. Kloud Gate may need better ground to be seen at his best but has dropped to an attractive mark.
David Dennis denies there has been a rift between him and Tom Symonds, but he has moved 10 horses in the middle of winter from Symonds to Matt Shepherd including last week’s facile Plumpton winner Cyclop (3.50) who escapes a penalty for that 20L romp in a conditional jockeys’ event for horses aged 10 and over. We can draw our own conclusions.
That may not have been a strong race, but the handicapper has seen fit to raise him 10lbs in the future although he can run from his old mark today. Lilly Pinchin gets on well with the gelding and she is excellent value for her 5lbs claim. The 2/1 with William Hill didnt last long and the recommendation is 13/8 with Boylesports. One Of Us looks overpriced at 20/1 and a market move would be worth noting.
I thought Military March would win the 2020 Derby this time last year and more so after his excellent fourth in the 2000 Guineas back in June. He has his first start since at Meydan this afternoon, but will he be able to overcome the subsequent absence, a poor draw in stall 11 and a 9f trip which might be on the sharp side? Frankie Dettori takes the ride.
Of more interest from a betting perspective is the clash between Equilateral and Fazuli (6.00) in the 5f sprint handicap and I hope to see the Godolphin runner – 6/4 with 10bet – confirm the form of his Newbury Gp 3 success over the Charlie Hills runner despite being 1lb worse off for the length that was between the horses back in September.