Heavy ground at Chepstow although the course were optimistic, they would pass a 4pm inspection on Thursday ahead of today’s feature meeting.
The Novices’ Handicap Chase on the card is a belter and Oski is only 4lbs higher than when throwing away a race at Taunton last time when he veered badly left on the run in looking for the way back into the racecourse stables with the race at his mercy. Fergal O’Brien fits his 9-y-old with a first-time tongue-tie this afternoon.
The each way vote, however, at 9s with BetVictor goes to Big Nasty (2.20) who stayed on when the bird had flown behind Shanty Alley – ran Wincanton Thursday – at Doncaster last time. Martin Keighley fits his 8-y-old with first-time cheek-pieces and the hope is that he is ridden more prominently this afternoon than was the case in south Yorkshire when he was shuffled back after an early error.
Dual Bumper winner Easy As That (3.50) steps up in trip on his handicap debut for Venetia Williams and looks well treated as long as his hurdling improves. The selection looked like he would be well held when headed three out here last time over the minimum trip, but he stayed on well enough to be beaten just over 5L. Today’s additional half mile will, hopefully, put less pressure on his hurdling and I feel on opening mark of 114 is workable – with the caveat of his, hitherto, dodgy hurdling.There was 9/2 available first thing but he is into 9/4 with 10bet.
Tim Vaughan had a welcome winner at Fakenham last week and I hope to see Dadsintrouble (2.00) run a big race in the stayers’ hurdle at Catterick. The ew selection finished third at Haydock last time staying on over three miles and leading conditional Charlie Price takes off a valuable 5lbs. The veteran – 9s with Unibet – has not won for over three years, but he has won from higher marks in the past. Legalized looks the main danger with a 6lbs rise for scoring by 10L at Ayr last time looking fair.
Gipsy Lee Rose receives plenty of weight in the Mares Handicap Chase and I am surprised she has been left on the same mark as when runner up at Kelso last time. That excellent run was over 2m 6f, however, and she does have to prove her stamina for today’s extended 3m 1f and the vote goes to Whatsdastory (2.30).
The Dr Richard Newland-trained mare won over 3m on heavy ground over timber and ran her best race yet over fences when runner up from a 2lbs lower mark at Taunton last time. Sam Twiston-Davies takes over in the saddle and this winning pointer can outstay the bottom weight. The 5/2 with Boylesports looks about right.
The step up in trip to near 2m 4f should suit Ripper Roo (3.00) a winner of his sole point and runner up in both starts under rules for Olly Murphy. The selection was only beaten 2L at Fakenham on his hurdles debut when a mistake at the last put paid to any chance he had. He is entitled to improve for the experience and the yard remain in excellent form. The selection is 5/6 with William Hill.