Just two meetings on Monday but the novices’ handicap chase at Plumpton is a cracker with all five having a realistic chance of landing the prize.
Only Money was visually very impressive when scoring at Huntingdon back in the spring although the race did fall apart with leader Rooster Cogburn falling in a hole going to two out. Chris Gordon’s 7-y-old goes well fresh and will enjoy the good ground and a 12lbs rise for that latest success may not prevent him following up.
Marginal preference, however, goes to the maiden Numbers Man (2.15) who promises to be a better chaser than hurdler having finished runner up at Ffos Las on his chase debut last month. The form was let down when the winner File Illico was well beaten at Worcester on Friday, but the ground had gone against Jonjo O’Neill’s novice who was never competitive following an early mistake.
Numbers Man carries his head a bit high, will get further than this extended 2m 1f and has been raised 4lbs for Ffos Las, but I am sure there are races to be won with the 5-y-old who has only had five career starts to date. The 2s with Boylesports is about right.
Black Centaur won a 3m 1f chase here back in the spring in first-time blinkers and Chris Gordon switches headgear for his reappearance fitting cheekpieces on his eight-year-old. He looks sure to go close but Silver Nickel (3.15) looked a dour stayer when finishing second here a fortnight ago and he looks sure to appreciate this marathon 3m 4f+ test.
The grey – 2s with William Hill – has only had two starts over fences but his best run over timber was when stepped up to an extended 3m 1f at Warwick back in May and the hope is that his jumping can improve with experience over the larger obstacles.
The opening mares’ novices’ hurdle is a hot race and there ought to be a number of winners come out of the contest in the months to come. There are a couple of exciting recruits from the flat in the novice hurdle but in the finale, I hope to see Motion In Limine (3.30) go one better than when runner up at Wetherby last time when he chased home Unexpected Party who finished runner up at Cheltenham on Saturday from an 11lbs higher mark.
The selection was beaten 8L by the easy winner last time, but he had the third a further 7L in arrears. The handicapper may have taken a chance leaving him on the same mark. Dr Richard Newland’s 6-y-old gets further than this extended two-and-a-half-mile trip and I hope Cillin Leonard – who has ridden the selection on both starts since coming to Britain – does not get too far back. The 9/2 available on Sunday afternoon was the wrong price and he is into 15/8 with MansionBet at the time of posting – 10.30pm.