No sign of any significant rain at Wetherby until the weekend and good – watered – ground for todays six-race card.
In the 3m handicap chase Oscar Robertson – 7/4 from 11/4 – looked ready for a step back up in trip when beaten 5L in a much better race at Newbury last time over their extended 2m 4f. Indeed, he would have finished a bit closer but for meeting trouble at the elbow on the run in.
He certainly has the size to carry weight, but he has been put in short enough at 5/2 and he looked a non-stayer on his first start at three miles at Newcastle this time last year. He has been dropped 2lbs for that comeback run and is the one to beat, but Thelongwayround (1.45) receives 20lbs from the Tom George-trained market leader and he can make a winning reappearance for Sue Smith.
The selection – uneasy 4/1 shot at MansionBet – had a wind procedure back in the spring and his sole previous success was also gained after a wind operation. The selection wore cheekpieces for the first time when third at Newcastle back in March when a bad mistake five out stopped him in his tracks.
This winning pointer is 5lbs lower with the headgear left off this afternoon. A winning pointer he represents an inform yard and is still young enough to make his mark over fences.
Darling Du Large has won three times since mid-July and is only 12lbs higher in the weights than for the first of those successes at Newton Abbot on soft ground. Soft ground in July and fast ground at the end of November!
He must go close, but Cedar Hill (2.50) is taken to show that he can score outside of his beloved Kelso where all three of his British successes have been gained. The selection is not the most fluent of jumpers but made a very pleasing return when third at Musselburgh when his stamina appeared to give way over an additional half-mile.
Sandy Thompson has his string in good shape and this 7-y-old should have a good gallop to chase with High Up In The Sky and Antunes likely to ensure a fast pace. There was 7/2 available on Tuesday afternoon but he is 11/8 with William Hill at the time of posting – just at the end of I’m A Celebrity.
Marilyn Monroe (3.10) is penalised 7lbs for scoring at Wincanton at the weekend and is blinkered for the first time having looked to run out at the last. She is not the biggest but junps well and the 6/5 about on Tuesday evening looks fair. Note she is also declared to run at Taunton on Thursday.
At Kempton I hope to see Fourth Time Lucki (4.45) make it third time lucky in the opening 7f maiden for Richard Fahey following a couple of good turf runs over six and 7f at Redcar in recent weeks. The selection – 9/4 with 10Bet – is a half-brother to an all-weather winner and the hope is that Tony Hamilton can get him into a decent position from what is just an ordinary draw in stall eight.
The booking of Tom Marquand for the newcomer Dark Flyer catches the eye. The dam was nothing special, but Tom Ward’s juvenile is half-brother to Ed Walker’s 90+ rated Sunset Bay although the latter has shown little in two all-weather outings.
The feature race is the listed Hyde Stakes over a mile. Stormy Antarctic heads the market and is the one to beat on official figures but there is little pace guaranteed in the race – Lady Rockstar made all last time – and a tactical race may give Tom Marquand a headache or two.
The each way vote goes to Cap Francais (7.15) who travelled well for a long way at Newbury over 10f on soft ground on his first start for over 200 days and his debut for Ian Williams.
This is his first start on an artificial surface and is another who might not want the race to turn into a two-furlong dash. Rossa Ryan takes over in the saddle for the first time. He has often hinted that nine or ten furlongs would be his optimum trip, but all three of his career wins have come at a mile. The ew shot is 12s with William Hill.