Good ground forecast at Southwell and this is a track where the executive are often overzealous with the watering can.
A penny for the thoughts of Ruth Jefferson who trained Waiting Patiently to win an Ascot Grade 1 and to finish runner up to Frodon in last year’s King George. The horse was moved to Christian Williams after one poor run at Aintree in the spring and was never a factor after blundering at the first in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday. He has much to prove now going forward.
Jefferson saddles Lemon T (2.25) in the three-mile handicap hurdle. The 8-y-old had wind surgery over the summer and shaped with considerable promise on his seasonal debut at Kelso when a mistake two out stopped him in his tracks.
He returns to the scene of his C&D success from a 4lbs lower mark back in May. Danny McMenamin takes over in the saddle with regular pilot Jamie Hamilton at Sedgefield. The Nicky Henderson-trained Lelantos is the short-priced favourite, but I am not convinced it was the strongest of races that he finished runner up in last time. There was 5s about first thing on Monday but he is into 11/4 with Boylesports at the time of posting.
Regaby (1.10) is still not the finished article over fences, but he is progressive and is taken to land his third handicap since the end of August for Ian Williams. The selection – 11/4 with William Hill – is still prone to give the odd fence a nudge, but he was a game winner over C&D last time and a 4lbs rise looks fair for this 6-year-old.
Top-weight Kaphumor heads the market having made a winning start for new connections when making all at Hexham last time. He has been raised 10lbs for that win but is likely to have more to offer for Sue Smith this term. His recent win came at 3m, and he does have to prove his stamina for today’s trip.
Smith fits Aire Valley Lad with cheekpieces for the first time and he looks sure to be a warm order having dropped to a very attractive mark. Peter Bowen takes a couple of horses north and I will be keeping a close eye on the market for both especially Dalkingstown (2.45) who steps back up in trip having found the drop to the minimum distance against last time.
This dual good ground winning pointer – 7/2 with 10Bet – has dropped to an attractive mark, and he gets the vote for a stable who have been quiet of late but did have a winner at Ffos Las recently.
I am looking forward to the hurdles debut of Grand Jury (1.35) in the Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown. The selection was an impressive winner of a heavy ground Bumper here in March before finishing fourth at the spring Festival. He will stay further than two miles further down the line, but it is likely that Rachel Blackmore will make plenty of use of her mount. At the time of writing on Monday morning there was no prices available. He makes no appeal at 4/6.
There is a fascinating and likely to be a most informative 2m 5f+ Maiden Hurdle and Hunters Yarn is likely to be all the rage having his first start for Willie Mullins. The gelding landed a Thurles Bumper by 17L back in the spring for Pat Doyle and has been bought by Isaac Souede and Simon Munir in the interim period. Note his brother Do Your Job has been campaigned almost exclusively at two miles.
The form has more holes in it than a Swiss cheese however and he is likely to be over-bet because of his connections. He could still be a star but so, too, could Life In The Park (2.35) who was 15L clear when coming down at the last in his sole point. He has joined Henry De Bromhead and he might just be more of a stayer than the exciting Hunters Yarn. The selection is 15/8 from 2s at MansionBet.
At Wolverhampton I feel I must give Oz Legend (6.30) another chance after he finished second at Newcastle last time over 10f when he was upset in the stalls but finished well to get withing a length to Tarroob who has since followed up and is now rated 10lbs higher than when he beat the selection.
James Ferguson’s 3-y-old is only rated 2lb higher and, while there is still a minor doubt about his stamina over this trip, he must be given a last chance. His current record on tapeta reads 12. The 9/4 with William Hill looked too big and he is 11/8 with 10Bet at the time of posting at 11pm Monday.