Today’s scheduled meeting at Wincanton was abandoned yesterday and, at the time of writing, Catterick is subject to its own 3pm inspection. The course was described as frozen in places – despite the deployment of frost covers – and it might be prudent to begin our preview elsewhere.
Thurles have rescheduled Sunday’s postponed card and in the opening Grade 2 Novice Willie Mullins’ odds on market leader Colreevy carries a 7lbs penalty for landing the G1 Novice Chase at Limerick over Christmas when the odds on favourite Asterion Forlonge hit the deck five out when leading.
Mullins has saddled the winner of this corresponding race three times in the last four years and is doubly represented with Yukon Lil also facing the starter. Yukon Lil won on her chase debut when beating Scarlet And Dove (12.15) over the minimum trip but I feel the latter can reverse the form over this additional half mile and Joseph O’Brien’s mare gets the each way vote at 9s with Boylesports.
The selection has improved on all three runs over the larger obstacles and impressed when scoring at Limerick last time albeit in a race run over 20 seconds slower than that won by the favourite three days earlier.
Allaho (12.45) was recommended at the weekend and I see no reason to desert the selection although he has shown a tendency to jump out to his left on occasions. I hope he can cement his place in the Ryanair field and, further forward, I would love to see him line up at Aintree in the Martell Cup in the spring. The selection is Even money with BetVictor.
Enjoy D’allen (1.20) can defy an 8lbs rise for scoring at Fairyhouse on what was his first start for Ciaran Murphy. A winning pointer the 7-year-old has improved for the switch to the larger obstacles – just 4 starts over fences – and is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first-time this afternoon. He remains open to further improvement and is 3/1 with William Hill.
Eurotiep has not finished out of the first two in all four Bumper starts for Mullins and the horse he finished behind at Leopardstown over Christmas – Gordon Elliot’s Hollow Games – is a leading candidate for the Festival Bumper in March. He must go close, but he is likely to need further in time and lacks hurdling experience.
The vote goes to Vintage Prosseco (2.30) who won a Limerick Bumper back in November before finishing second on his hurdles debut at Down Royal last month. He can go one better with that experience under his belt and was nibbled at first thing from 13/8 into 6/4 at 10bet.
At Lingfield Sir Edward Elgar (1.50) looks sure to appreciate the step up to a mile having finished third in both starts so far over 7f. The colt – 11/8 with BetVictor – is a half-brother to six winners – including over two miles – and I hope to see Rab Havlin make plenty of use of his mount who is well drawn in stall two.
In the last at Kempton this evening Cinzento (8.20) can defy a 4lbs rise for scoring at Chelmsford over a couple of furlongs shorter when he rallied to get back up in the shadows of the post having been headed inside the distance. This is the selection’s first start at 2m and inform Rossa Ryan – 8 winners at 26% in the last fortnight – takes over in the saddle with Jack Mitchell plying his trade at Lingfield earlier in the day. The recommendation is 3s with William Hill.