A trio of competitive jumps cards to look forward to on Wednesday and we begin at Warwick where underfoot conditions were described as good to soft on Tuesday morning although no further rain was forecast.
Dan Skelton described his French import Hartur D’Oudairies (12.00) as “a very nice horse. I like him” in the Racing Post earlier in the week and he can make a winning British debut having been bought by JP McManus since landing a Bumper in the French provinces 12 months ago.
His trainer comes from the Paul Nicholls school of optimism, but connections have found a good opportunity for the 4-year-old. His Bumper success was gained on soft ground and Skelton would not wish the ground to dry out too much. The gelding is 5/4 with William Hill.
I was disappointed with the mare Fontaine Collonges (12.30) at Wetherby on debut when she found the combination of two miles on good ground – not good to soft as per the official description – but I do think she will be a different proposition over today’s extra half a mile. The Venetia Williams yard are not exactly firing on all cylinders – that will come when the rains arrive – but I do expect this mare to be rated much higher than 115 by the end of the season. There was 5/2 about on Tuesday but the mare is 11/8 from 7/4 with Boylesports at the time of posting.
Olly Murphy saddles a couple in the conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle and Solley Gardens heads the market at 3/1 although he is doubly declared and, at the time of writing, he is due to run at Fakenham on Tuesday.
His stablemate Italian Spirit (2.15) justified favouritism when landing a Market Rasen Bumper on his second start and won a modest novice hurdle at Fakenham on his seasonal reappearance last month stepped up to two-and-a half miles for the first time. His opening mark of 116 looks workable and everything the yard send out at present is worth more than a second glance. There was 5/1 briefly available on Tuesday but into 3s with 10Bet at the time of posting.
The handicap chase at Ffos Las is a belter and I thought Le Cameleon shaped with considerable promise on his seasonal debut when tenderly handled following a couple of falls on his last two starts. The Nick Williams yard have been in very good form in recent weeks and this inmate is likely to be ridden more prominently with his confidence restored.
My two against the field, however, are the mares Arian and Nada To Prada (2.00) with the latter getting the vote for Michael Scudamore. The selection – 2s from 10/3 with 10Bet – has had her wind tweaked since running second in a hot mares’ race at Worcester last month – winner and third have franked the form – and she has the scope to make her mark in listed mares’ chases later in the campaign.
Arian was a fortunate winner on ground softer than ideal at Newton Abbot last month, but she did not get the clearest of runs and is only 1lb higher this afternoon.
Nakadam (1.50) won the 4m Chase at Hexham first time out on this corresponding card 12 months ago from a 6lbs higher mark and gets the each way vote this afternoon even though he will turn 12 at the end of the year. Lorcan Murtagh is getting plenty of opportunities for Harry Fry down south so Craig Nicol takes over in the saddle.
Do note the each way selection fell five out in the race two years ago when still going well and this is likely to have been the target for some time. The Barry Murtagh stable had a good winner at the last meeting here earlier in the month. The 16s in a place first thing on Tuesday was too big and the 11-year-old is a best price of 17/2 with William Hill at midnight on Tuesday.