Soft ground at Ayr for todays six-race card which starts with a terrific maiden hurdle over the minimum trip of two miles.
Irish raider Ballycoose won his sole Bumper at Down Royal back in the spring and represents a stable whose raiders are always respected. Nicky Richards won the corresponding race 12 months ago courtesy of Wetlands and his Parisencore will have his supporters but looks more exposed than Ballycoose or Sure Touch 12.30) with the latter getting the vote.
Olly Murphy has a decent record at the track and this inmate was considered good enough to contest the Aintree Bumper back in the spring having won at Wincanton – heavy -on debut. He finished second on ground which may have been quicker than ideal on his first start over timber at Southwell last month when a last flight blunder may have been the difference between victory and defeat. Todays more galloping track and softer ground should see him in a much better light today. The 7/4 with William Hill on Tuesday morning looks about right.
I think the handicapper has given Murphy’s Lord Of Kerak (1.05) a chance in the following 2m 4f handicap hurdle having been dropped 4lbs since disappointing at Perth in a listed contest back in the spring. He has bits of form over today’s trip/ground which suggest to me he could be very well treated off a mark of 126 although his jumping was an issue on more than one occasion last term. The 6/1 with William Hill 4 places on Tuesday morning looks too big for the each way recommendation.
Bigbadmattie is the obvious danger having left Emma Lavelle since landing a Worcester handicap from a 13lbs lower mark back in October. He has joined the stable of James Ewart who has dispensed with the tongue tie the horse wore last time.
I was very impressed with Bill Baxter’s (1.40) win at Kelso last time and hope to see him burst the Nells Son bubble even though the latter beat Salvino – runner up to the selection in the Borders last time – by 3L further than the Warren Greatrex horse did last time.
Make no mistake these are two useful novice hurdlers with Nells Son winning two of his three Bumpers before making a winning start over jumps at Kelso in October. The selection is 11/8 with 10Bet.
At Plumpton I hope to see Nicky Henderson saddle the winner of the 2m 4f handicap hurdle courtesy of Irish Bumper winner Full Of Light (2.35) who jumped left at Ludlow on British debut before staying on well over two miles at Uttoxeter last time.
The step up in trip should suit given his Bumper success was over an extended 2m 1f. He is hardly one of the stable stars, but he cost connections £58,000 back in the spring and is bred to be a bit better than a mark of 108. The 4/1 about on Monday evening was too big and he is 5/2 with Boylesports on Tuesday morning.