Good ground at Taunton for today’s six-race card and I am prepared to give Caspers Court (1.55) another chance as he steps up in trip to just shy of three miles.
Roque It is bred to make a chaser and he shapes as if this return to three miles will see him in a better light given, he has been running on over timber over 2m 4f of late. Champion trainer Paul Nicholls won this corresponding race back in 2015 with Saint Roque who is closely related to the selection.
I hope, however, that the Kayley Woollacott grey can build on what was a promising –not eye-catching – run over 5f shorter here a fortnight ago behind Catch The Cuban – reopposes today – when jockey Tom Scudamore raced wide throughout but came home well enough to be beaten just over 4L. Scudamore goes to Lingfield for a couple of rides and talented conditional Ben Godfrey takes off a valuable 5lbs.
There was 9/2 about at the time of posting on Wednesday evening but the grey is 7/2 with Boylesports.
An Tailliur was made market leader for a competitive conditional jockey’s handicap hurdle at Cheltenham’s November meeting but only got as far as the first. He had won his previous five starts on good ground and looks the one to beat although he may find this 2m 3f on the sharp side.
The ew vote however goes to Guernesey (2.25) who finished runner up to Getalead at Warwick last week and has been raised 4lbs for that effort although that does not come into effect until the weekend. The 9/2 with 10Bet looks about right.
The Warwick winner has already franked the form at Ascot at the weekend and I thought the first three in the race – Italian Spirit in bronze – were worth following in the short term. Dargiannini went off favourite for the Silver Trophy at Chepstow on his reappearance but failed to fire. Paul Nicholls has suggested he will be going chasing sooner rather than later.
At Lingfield Duke of Rockingham (1.45) is taken to make a winning hurdles debut for Olly Murphy. The trainer has always thought a fair bit of his 5-y-old and he built on a promising run in a Newbury Bumper when coming home 7L clear in a similar contest at Uttoxeter last month.
Conditions at Lingfield were described as good to soft on Wednesday morning and it is a sign of the times that a novice hurdle at the track has representatives from Philip Hobbs, Alan King, Dan Skelton, Jonjo O’Neill, Colin Tizzard, David Pipe and Venetia Williams as well as Murphy. The 7/4 with MansionBet looks about right.
This is a big week for Harry Fry with stable stars Boothill and Metier likely to run at Newbury this weekend. After a useful start to the campaign a few of Fry’s inmates have been failing to see out their race of late and I shall be keeping a close eye on his runners especially Whisky Express (2.47) who makes her hurdles debut in the mares’ maiden hurdle.
The well-bred selection – 5/2 at William Hill – scored at Taunton on debut in a soft ground Bumper under Sean Bowen who keeps the ride this afternoon Today’s 2m 3f+ trip looks an ideal starting point, and she had a wind operation in the summer.
Speech Bubble finished runner up in a listed contest at Sandown on her last start and looks a big danger for Noel Williams who is so adept with mares.