Heavy rain is forecast to sweep across Britain on Wednesday and underfoot conditions at Fontwell – described as good on Tuesday morning – are likely to ease considerably given the BBC suggest there will be up to 12 hours of heavy rain due to hit west Sussex.
Celtic Joy is well handicapped at present and would have been the selection on good ground with Emma Lavelle fitting her 8-year-old with cheekpieces for the first-time following wind surgery in December. He is one to keep on side in the spring.
Pat Phelan’s last two runners at the time of writing have won and the Epsom handler saddles Definite Dilemma (2.00) in the 2m 4f handicap chase. The selection was raised 6lbs for finishing second beaten half a length by Overworkedunderpaid at Warwick on his penultimate start. The winner followed up at Leicester last month and is now rated 18lbs higher and it was disappointing that he failed to build on that when beaten almost 15L here on heavy ground last time. The selection – 3s with Boylesports – was a dual winning pointer in Ireland and can break his maiden under rules for his inform yard.
It was not much of a Bumper that Sandy Brook won at Hereford last time, but he must go close on his hurdles debut for Chris Gordon whose string having been running well in defeat of late and who has such a good record at Fontwell.
I feel I must give Truckers Pass (2.32) another chance to confirm the form of his second to Do Your Job – now rated 136 – at Ffos Las back in October when he threw the race away by veering left after the last. The selection – Evens with BetVictor – finished runner up in his first four starts – including his sole point – before finishing fourth at Doncaster back in January albeit in a much better race than todays.
At Catterick Fire Away drops back to the minimum trip after landing a couple of handicaps over further including at Musselburgh from a 20lbs lower mark returning from a break for his new yard. The horse travelled extremely well but only scrambled home at Fakenham last time, but he and the runner up were clear, and I have a lot of time for the second Admiral Barratry.
Smiths Cross (3.10) looked to be given too much to do – not helped by a significant mistake – when second at Newcastle from this mark last time and he gets a narrow vote with the forecast rain a plus for this maiden over jumps although he did win a heavy ground Bumper from the front. I hope to see Richard Patrick ride the selection – 4s with Unibet – more positively than was the case at Gosforth Park last time.
It is over 12 months since Pauline Robson had a winner, but Special Prep went very close at Doncaster in the Grimthorpe at the weekend and Cooking Fat (4.15) is taken to build on a promising reappearance when he was taken wide throughout over C&D before running out of gas on his first start for over 600 days. The each way selection – 15/2 with 10bet – is a C&D winner off a 7lbs higher mark and Brian Hughes, who has been in the plate for three of his four career wins, keeps the ride.
Dan Skelton’s Aheadfullofdreams was first past the post at Ayr from a 4lbs lower mark back in October before disappointing dropped back in distance when last seen in January. He is a worthy market leader with his featherweight representing such an inform yard although he was put in short enough in the betting at 7/4.