The ground is drying out all the time in Britain and conditions at Wincanton were described as good to soft on Tuesday morning ahead of today’s seven-race card.
Duc Kauto (1.00) has a good record fresh and is taken to defy top-weight in the 2m 4f handicap chase for Colin Tizzard. The selection – 3s with Unibet – finished runner up from a 1lb higher mark over C&D back in December 2019 and has not seen the track since July when he was beaten over 20L in a much better than todays.
I like the booking of Fergus Gillard for Baignard, but I was disappointed with his finishing effort over C&D at the last meeting – albeit on heavy ground – and first time out may be the time to catch the Tizzard horse despite the ongoing reservations about the fitful form of the stable.
Tizzard also saddles Molineaux (2.05) in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase and the selection has a course record of 2411122 including a success from a 2lbs higher mark a couple of years ago. The selection – 4/1 with Boylesports – has his optimum conditions this afternoon and he receives 9lbs from Earlofthecotswolds who is considered the chief threat.
Dr Richard Newland had been having a quiet time prior to Beau Bay’s success at Doncaster last week – the stable’s last runner – but I am very sweet on the chances of Dashing Perk (3.45) in the Hunter Chase. The selection – 9/4 with Boylesports – is a good jumper of a fence and would be of some interest in the Aintree Foxhunter next month over the intermediate 2m 5f trip. Today’s conditions are ideal, and I hope to see Sam Twiston-Davies go from the front.
Capitaine rather than narket leader Caid Du Berlais is the danger in my opinion and is another who will be well treated by a flat right-hand track on good ground. The grey failed to stay 3m on his first start between the flags and he has not run over fences under rules for over three years when he was a late casualty in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novice Chase. Hunter Chasing is not for everyone, but this is the race of the day for me.
At Musselburgh course specialist Eagle Ridge must go close dropping back in trip in the 2m 4f handicap chase but he is likely to be short enough in the betting and I feel Path To Freedom (1.15) will appreciate the drying ground and this multiple winner between the flags can break his duck under rules. The ew recommendation – 7/1 with William Hill is, arguably, better going left-handed but I hope to see Page Fuller may plenty of use of her mount.
Alcala (3.35) was outstayed over C&D on desperate ground here last month, but today’s sounder surface should ensure it is no war of attrition and he is taken to score from Looking Well who would be receiving 6lbs from the selection if this were a handicap.
At Kempton Al Muffrih (4.45) is 6lbs better off – including jockey’s allowance – with Sky Defender for just over a length he was behind the Mark Johnston horse at Wolverhampton last time. This represents a slight step up in trip this afternoon – I think the gelding needs further – but the hope is that Dashing Roger will ensure the top-weight does not get an uncontested lead. I would like to see Marco Ghiani race just off the pace and today’s longer straight than Dunstall Park will suit the selection who is 5/1 with 10bet.
Five of the seven 3-y-olds who contest the valuable Conditions Stakes over a mile who last time out including Highland Avenue (6.50) who was backed as if defeat was out of the question when scoring over C&D last time having been a beaten odds-on favourite on debut. Hollie Doyle takes over in the saddle for Charlie Appleby. The opening 11/10 with William Hill didn’t last long and the well bred Dubawi colt is 5/6 at BetVictor.