Soft ground at Sandown today with the prospect of further showers ahead of today’s competitive seven-race card.
In the opening conditional jockey’s hurdle both Song Of The Hunter and Eamon An Cnoc (1.20) finished runner up in their latest starts and they can fight out the finish. David Pipe drops the selection back to the minimum trip this afternoon having been no match for the very well treated Easy As That at Chepstow last time. The 10-y-old is rated 10lbs lower over hurdles than fences and looks sure to give it a good go from the front. The selection was clipped from 4s to 7/2 with William Hill on Wednesday afternoon.
Song Of The Hunter blundered two out at Warwick on Monday when challenging on his first start for Johnny Farrelly and it is significant that he is brought out so quickly. He represents a big danger.
I have backed two in the 2m 4f handicap chase given I think it is a match. Mister Murchan – 7/2 into 11/4 with William Hill – has been in terrific form of late and soft ground and a flat right-handed track are ideal. He finished fourth over C&D from a 5lbs lower mark in a race that is working out very well with the first five home all subsequent winners. He must go close, but I do feel No Getaway (3.05) is well handicapped at present and represents the yard of Dan Skelton who remain in excellent form and did us such a big favour on Wednesday with Embole.
The selection failed to get home over 3m at Newbury last time but has had his wind operated on since that effort and he drops back to the distance of his sole career success. The selection has only had two runs over fences but has jumped well on both starts and at 6/1 with BetVictor looks a fair each way alternative to Mister Murchan.
Cuban Pete will appreciate the return to a right-hand track having jumped that way at Newbury last time. He has been given seven weeks to get over those exertions and looks sure to go close from near the foot of the weights. My two against the field, however, are Éclair Surf and top-weight Bobo Mac (4.15) with marginal preference for the former who missed what I thought was a winning opportunity in a Veterans’ race at Exeter on Sunday when the chases were abandoned.
Éclair Surf is taken to reverse recent Exeter form with Frankly Du Berlais on the revised terms stepping up in distance to 3m for the first time. Bobo Mac – 11/2 with Boylesports – was beaten less than 10l in the Welsh Grand National last month and this stiff 3m on a right-hand track is ideal although I appreciate this is a better race than the one, he was due to contest last weekend. He gets the ew vote.
At Leicester Muckamore (12.30) went out like a light last time over 3m and this slight drop back in trip to 2m 6f is certainly a positive. Nigel Twiston-Davies has given his 7-y-old a wind operation since his last start and fits his gelding with a tongue tie for the first time. A flat right-hand track suits, he has the physique to carry weight and, if the procedure has worked the oracle on his breathing, he looks fairly treated over fences. The selection is 11/4 with 10bet.
En Coeur (1.30) did us a favour when scoring at Plumpton last time and he is taken to defy a 7lbs rise although he does have to prove as effective going right-handed. The horse that finished runner up to the selection – Kap Auteuil – is declared for Fakenham on Friday and a good run from Seamus Mullins’ 7-y-old will boost the prospects of Toby Lawes charge. The selection is 9/4 with BetVictor.
In Meydan I hope to see Lazuli (3.05) reverse recent course form with Equilateral over 5f in a terrific Group 2 contest. The selection was too keen to do himself justice when third to the Charlie Hills sprinter on his reappearance, but I hope he will have had the freshness taken lout of him with that run under his belt. A high draw has been an advantage on the sprint course at the Carnival, but with only six runners going to post it should not be too significant this evening. The selection is 2/1 with Boylesports.