Another eight-race card at Perth this afternoon to be run on perfect spring jumping ground and Olly Murphy – who saddled an across-the-card treble on Wednesday – has several fancied runners including Fletch in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle.
My two against the field, however, are Kajaki and Quick Draw (1.50) who is just 3lbs higher than when scoring at Chepstow earlier in the month. The selection had failed to get home over three miles on his penultimate start, and he improved in his first time cheekpieces last time. Tom Lacey has his string in good form and the 11/2 ew with William Hill 4 places looks fair.
Brian Hughes rode Licklighter (2.20) last time out but he appears to prefer the chances of Fanzio this afternoon in the 2m handicap chase. The selection has gone very well fresh in the past and might not improve a great deal for finishing a close fourth at Carlisle at the beginning of the month. This easier track should suit, however, and Richie McLernon takes over in the saddle. The recommendation is 9/2 with MansionBet.
Pistol Whipped improved for the switch to front-running tactics at Plumpton last time but he is 7lbs higher in the weights and I hope to see Niven (2.55) return to winning ways having finished second in his last couple of starts. The ew selection – 9/2 with 10Bet – has not raced right-handed for over two years, but he ran well enough at Huntingdon on that occasion and gave the top-class Delta Work a fright in a Beginners Chase when trained in Ireland at Down Royal.
Republican (3.30) ran a career best on the fastest ground he has encountered at Haydock over 3m last time when he was doing all his best work late on. Today’s step up in trip should suit and a 1lb rise for his latest effort looks fair. He gets the each way vote – 9/2 from 6s with William Hill – in a highly competitive staying hurdle.
At Warwick it is possible that the headgear will not have the desired effect second time around, but I thought High Counsel (3.40) jumped and travelled well in his first-time blinkers here last time over 3m 5f and hope he can cope with the drop back in trip carrying just 9st 9lbs including his conditional jockey’s allowance. The ew selection – 5s with BetVictor – is 12 years of age, but two of his four career wins have been at today’s track and he gets the ew vote.