Little rain forecast for the rest of the week, but conditions are described as a mix of good and good to soft at Wincanton for todays seven-race card which begins with a maiden hurdle over the minimum trip.
French import Huflower is not going to be one of Paul Nicholls stable stars but did show enough on his Exeter debut to suggest he will be winning races for the champion trainer. He is entitled to come on for that experience and he did win the last two of his four starts in France.
Marginal preference, however, is for the filly Holly (12.30) who won three of her four starts in her native France and travelled very well before fading two out at Uttoxeter in a decent Mares’ only event on her British debut. The second and fourth on that occasion have since won and trainer Jonjo O’Neill had a couple of winners at Carlisle on Sunday. The 9/2 available at MansionBet on Monday evening looks fair.
Striking A Pose was well on top at the end of his chase debut at Exeter, but he looked more of a stayer on that occasion, and I wonder whether he will be able to cope with this sharper track and a 4lbs rise in the weights.
Kakamora (1.00) would not want conditions too testing but he was improving at a fair rate when last seen over hurdles back in the spring and he is taken to make a winning chase debut. The ew selection – 9/2 with William Hill – represents the inform stable of Tom George – four winners from their last 15 runners – and he won his sole point in his native Ireland beating Timberman who is now rated 125 by three lengths.
The 6-y-old had a wind operation in September and is fitted with a tongue tie for the first time which suggests his breathing is an issue and further rain would be considered a negative. On genuine good or good to soft ground he gets the vote although an 8lbs rise for his Perth success in April is hardly lenient.
Over at Catterick and Coolkill was reported to have coughed after a disappointing first run over fences at Kelso back in October. He has been given seven weeks to get over those exertions by Sandy Thompson and we could see a different animal this afternoon, but he jumped out to his right on his chase debut and his hurdles win back in the spring also came on a right-handed track. He was backed into favouritism last time and has been a market mover in the opening salvos – 11/4 from 4s with Hills.
Out On The Tear (2.45) would prefer softer ground, but he has a record over C&D of 12 and I thought he ran well at Sandown last time in a much stronger race than todays. The selection has been dropped 1lb for that run and a return to his favourite track can see him return to winning ways. Conditions were described as good to soft on Monday with the odd shower forecast in the evening and overnight. He is 6/4 with Boylesports.