A terrific day’s racing and conditions at Taunton were described as good on Wednesday morning with further showers expected overnight and on race-day. One would assume that the ground is likely to be on the soft side of good.
In the novices’ handicap chase Jeremy Pass would have been a confident selection on good ground and he looked a useful novice chaser when winning at Ascot last time – albeit in a three-runner race.
Organdi also needs fast ground, Winds Of Fire beat a non-stayer in what became a virtual match last time and chasing debutant De Young Warrior represents a stable who are struggling for form.
Lord Accord (2.10) was outstayed over an extended three miles last time and this easier track and slightly shorter distance will suit the 6-y-old who has winning form on good to soft but is another who would not want genuinely soft ground. The selection – 9/4 with Boylesports – is 2lbs higher than when just touched off at Exeter which does not help but he gets the vote in a fascinating little race.
Guernesey (2.40) is taken to reverse Warwick form with Getalead in a competitive 2m 3f handicap hurdle for Philip Hobbs. The selection really should have won over C&D last month but missed out the second last and lost valuable momentum. Taking jockeys’ allowances into consideration Getalead should confirm Warwick form but I just feel this sharper track will play into the hands of the grey.
The ew selection – 7/2 from 9/2 with William Hill 4 places – is no star but then the same connections Rooster Booster used to find ways of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as a novice – until the penny finally dropped.
The handicapper has given Quoi De Neuf a real chance in the 2m 2f+ handicap chase with the drop back to this trip considered a major plus. His finishing effort was tame at Fakenham over 2m 5f last time, however, although he is 10lbs lower than when finishing runner up to Canelo on his reappearance at Aintree last season when he travelled supremely well over that 2m 4f trip before again finishing weakly.
Nickolson (3.10) is another horse who has not yet fulfilled his initial promise but there was much to like about his chase debut when runner up in a high-quality novice chase at Warwick over the minimum trip. Today’s additional quarter of a mile will suit, and I like the booking of Sean Bowen with Olly Murphy’s stable jockey Aidan Coleman riding at Warwick. There was 7/4 available with Hills on Wednesday morning but he is into 5/4 with MansionBet at the time of posting.
I backed Inca Rose on his handicap debut at Kempton, but he never seemed happy in his first-time cheep-pieces and no surprise to see the aid dispensed with by Kim Bailey at Warwick this afternoon. A market move would be significant, but I hope it is a good day for Olly Murphy and hope to see Italian Spirit (1.25) build on her good third over C&D on his reappearance.
The selection – 7/2 with 10Bet – was claimer ridden on that occasion and Coleman takes over in the saddle. The jockey was excellent aboard Snow Leopardess in the Becher Chase, but he had a disappointing day at Uttoxeter on Tuesday when beaten on four short-priced horses and his ride on Gustavian was noy his Sunday best. The handicapper has dropped the selection 1lb for that excellent comeback run.
In the Newcastle opener I’m looking forward to the hurdle debut of Donny Boy (11.40) who looked smart when winning a soft ground Kelso Bumper for Nick Alexander on his British debut last month. The selection – 5/4 with Boylesports – had previously won a point-to-point in his native Ireland, and he is taken to maintain his unbeaten record. He clearly relishes soft ground.