There was plenty of rain forecast for Hereford on Sunday and the ground is likely to be at best good to soft for today’s card.
Believe Jack makes his British debut for Olly Murphy having finished runner up in his sole hurdles start at Tipperary when trained by Ellmarie Holden. That form has been franked by the winner and third, but preference is for the Fergal O’Brien trained hurdling debutant Great Heart’Jac (1.25).
The selection – Ecens with 10Bet – is a winning pointer on soft ground and ran some decent races in Bumpers including when a neck runner up behind an odds-on chance of Paul Nicholls at Chepstow last month. The selection will get further in time, but connections obviously feel he has the necessary pace for the minimum trip.
In the hands and heels handicap hurdle for amateur/conditional jockey’s I hope to see The Late Legend (12.55) build on what was a promising comeback at Huntingdon last month. The each way selection – 15/2 with Boylesports – ran well for a long time on that occasion and is now rated 12lbs lower over timber than he is over the larger obstacles.
The eight-year-old showed improved form switched to fences last season and it is possible that he is just not the same horse over timber, but today’s conditions should be ideal, and he has won over fences for today’s pilot last season.
At Plumpton Auld Sod ran well on his first start for his new yard and remains feasibly treated on his best form for Philip Hobbs but he would not want too much rain and I was impressed with the win of Air Hair Lair (3.15) at Fontwell last time, and he can double up from a 4lbs higher mark.
The selection – 11/8 with MansionBet – has won two of his seven chase starts and has yet to finish out of the first four over the larger obstacles. He is not yet the finished article over fences, but the ground will hold no terrors and this 5-y-old could still rate higher for Sheena West who loves having winners at her local track.
At Kempton and I hope to see the return to a mile see Beloved (2.05) shed her maiden tag at the seventh time of asking. The filly looked to be going nowhere two out over seven furlongs here last time but finished wee to be beaten just over a length. The ew selection – 13/2 with Boylesportsd 4 places – is well drawn next to the rail and Tom Marquand – who was in the plate when she finished second at Newbury on her penultimate start – returns to the saddle. Note Ed Walker dispenses with the hood his daughter of Frankel has worn on her last couple of starts.
The listed Floodlit Stakes is the feature but the most valuable race on the card is the final of the Middle-Distance Handicap over 11f. I thought Marching Army (3.40) won well despite being carried across the track by March Law who reopposes this afternoon and is allowed 3lbs for the half-length he was behind the selection. Hollie Doyle had the worst of the draw – five of 5 – last time and was forced to cover ground going into the first turn.
The ew selection – 7/2 with Boylesports – has another moderate draw to overcome today – eight of 11 – and I wonder if Hollie will try and get to or near the lead with Lawn Ranger the only confirmed front runner in the field. The selection made all to score at Leicester back in July but a draw in stall eight is a concern in such a competitive heat.