Exeter described underfoot conditions as soft on Wednesday morning although there is no further rain forecast.
I am loath to desert Guernesey in the 2m 3f handicap hurdle as I do feel he really should have won at Taunton last week when he was shuffled back at a vital stage before finishing best of all into second behind a well handicapped sort who had the run of the race from the front.
He has been raised 3lbs from the weekend but can run from the same mark this afternoon. He looks sure to run another big race, but his recent improvement has come on good ground and it is possible that his recent busy period allied to the change in underfoot conditions may prevent him from going one better.
The opening 8/1 about Investment Manager (1.05) looked attractive for a horse clearly going the right way having finished runner up to Kenyan Cowboy at Chepstow last month. The form of that run has taken a couple of knocks since but the fourth and fifth have run well in defeat since and the Tizzard horse gets the ew vote. Th ew recommendation is 6s from 8s with William Hill.
A check of the market is advised regarding New Age Dawning – runs in the same colours as Investment Manager – in the 3m handicap chase for David Pipe as he returns from a 1000-day lay-off. Stable jockey Tom Scudamore takes the ride which suggests connections are hopeful of a big run given the stable also saddle the dour stayer Little Red Lion – another making his belated seasonal reappearance.
The Tizzards’ also saddle a couple in the race. Lamanver Pippin is the mount of Brendan Powell while Faustinovick will be ridden by 7lb claimer Harry Kimber. I do not think he gets this extended three miles, but he is certainly one to keep an eye on going forward despite his frustrating run of seconds’ last term.
The vote, however, goes to No Rematch (1.40) despite the fact that he is 9lbs higher than when making all at Chepstow when last seen back in February. That run was his first start in 350 days, so he clearly goes well fresh, and this valuable prize has likely to be the target for some time. The ew selection is 11/2 from 7s with Boylesports.
The Ben Pauling yard remains a bit hit and miss but I do think Fine Casting (12.40) can land the Maiden Hurdle at Ffos Las. The selection – 13/8 with William Hill – was too keen when failing to get home over an additional half-mile at Uttoxeter last time on good ground and the forecast soft/heavy ground in south Wales will suit. His Bumper form with plenty of give underfoot was very good.
Ashfield Paddy is a worthy market leader in the 2m 5f handicap chase having run his best race yet over fences when just edged out at Bangor last time over this trip. Kevin Brogan takes off a valuable 3lbs for Jonjo O’Neill, but I must give another chance to Poldark Cross (1.15).
Harry Whittington is another stable whose form is erratic at best, but this winning pointer is surely better than he showed at Bangor over three miles on his reappearance. He should make up into a better chaser than hurdler in time and he has been given the best part of two months to get over his disappointing chase debut. The ew recommendation is 8s with 10Bet.
Danilo D’Airy is a fascinating runner in the 3m 1f handicap chase having landed a huge gamble for the yard of Robert Bevis at Warwick on soft ground back in the spring. He followed up from a stone higher mark later in the month and returns to the track another 18lbs higher than for the last of those wins.
He has the scope to improve again but he must give 20lbs – if you include Jack Tudor’s claim – to Powerful Position (2.25) who can follow up his recent course win from just a 4lbs higher mark. The 11/4 with MansionBet looks fair.