Carlisle were optimistic of passing Monday’s inspection ahead of today’s card and, with temperatures due to hit double figures, we start Tuesday’s preview in Cumbria.
Harry Whittington had a welcome winner at Kempton last week and it looks as if the stable are coming out of what was ailing them for much of the season. Whittington saddles Poldark Cross (12.30) in the opening conditional jockey’s contest and I believe he could be well treated from an opening mark of 115.
The selection was a winner between the flags in Ireland and has run well in both starts over hurdles this term at a time when the yard was under a cloud. It might be significant that this embryonic chaser holds entries at Sandown on Thursday and Fakenham on Friday and would, of course, escape a penalty if scoring today. I thought the opening quotes of 5s and 4/1 was too big and, at the time of posting, the best price on offer is BetVictor‘s 3/1.
Highland Hunter (1.00) makes the long journey north from Ditcheat in Somerset and is the only runner on the card for Paul Nicholls. I felt he ran a race full of promise at Chepstow on his chase debut when he would have finished third but for coming down three out in a better race than today’s. The selection – 2/1 with 10bet – was a winner of his sole point in Ireland and had a good strike rate over timber winning three of eight starts over the smaller obstacles including over today’s 3m 2f trip at Musselburgh.
Sigurd has done us a couple of favours in recent weeks, but he has been raised a stone for his latest win at Catterick and I thought Don Herbager (2.35) looked worth following when scoring at Exeter last time over 3m. He looked a dour stayer on that occasion and today’s additional quarter of a mile should suit.
His subsequent 7lbs rise is largely negated by the 5lbs claimed by Hugh Nugent and the selection is 11/4 with Boylesports. Note Venetia Williams’s stable jockey Charlie Deutsch shuns Carlisle for a couple of mounts at Catterick.
One of those rides is Jack Valentine (1.15) who made a winning chase debut at Leicester last month and can defy a 6lbs hike in the weights. Deutsch always appeared confident that he would pick up the frontrunning Little Rory Mac last time although his fencing was novicey at times including a slow jump at the open ditch on the far side. The hope is that his fencing will improve with experience and he did jump slightly out to his left on that occasion. Today’s sharp left-handed track ought to be ideal although he has been well found in the market and is a best price of 6/5 with BetVictor.
Pyramid Place (2.45) was taken out of an engagement at Warwick on Monday to wait for today’s race at Catterick and Paddy Brennan keeps the mount having been in the saddle when the selection scored at Taunton last time from an 8lbs lower mark. The selection -3s with Unibet – receives 9lbs weight-for-age as a juvenile and carries just 10st this afternoon.
Oscars Leader was a big disappointment at Market Rasen last time, but Jennie Candlish fits her inmate with blinkers for the first time – replaces normal visor – and he has bits of form which make him look very well treated at present. He was twice a winner this time last year on heavy ground and he represents a big danger to the four-year-old.
I am a big fan of Wishing And Hoping (3.15) and hope he can land the Hunter Chase despite having to give weight to his 14 rivals. The selection – 8/11 with William Hill – won by 25L here in a similar contest last March and is taken to make all again. He did appreciate better ground in his youth but copes well enough with soft ground these days.