Plenty of rain forecast for Staffordshire in the build up to todays card at Uttoxeter and conditions look sure to be on the heavy side of soft for their eight-race card.
There is a terrific novices limited handicap chase over 2m 4f and the presence of chase debutant Call Me Lord ensures that seven of the eight runners are out of the handicap. The top-weight is rising nine and, arguably, a bit long in the tooth to be having his first start over fences but he is well treated on his best form over timber.
Come On Teddy may find this trip on the sharp side but he will love the forecast rain and he is one to have on side in 3m novice chases going forward. Fern Hill is another to consider but marginal preference is for Gustavian (1.30) who has such a good course record, will love the ground and the booking of Aidan Coleman suggests Anthony Honeyball is hopeful of a big run. The ew recommendation is 9/2 – from 5s – with MansionBet.
Clondaw Promise ran out an easy winner at Lingfield on his second start over the larger obstacles and an 8lbs rise may not prevent him following up in a fascinating 2m 6+ handicap chase. My two against the field, however, are Red Lion Lad (2.30) and Mille Sussuri with marginal preference for the former who was given a very favourable mention by David Pipe in a recent stable tour. This lightly raced winning pointer is likely to be well ahead of his current mark of 115 by the end of the season. This trip on soft ground looks an ideal starting point. There was 6s about on Monday afternoon and he is into 10/3 with Boylesports.
Harry Fry has saddled four winners so far this month although I am still not convinced, they are all running up to their best with Metier running poorly at Sandown on Saturday. Mille Sussuri – 4s with William Hill – was not knocked about at Hereford on his chase debut but jumped soundly, will appreciate this softer ground and has been dropped a 1lb in the weights.
Over at Fontwell and Hamilton Deci was Kim Bailey’s first four-year-old to run in a chase when he scored at Warwick last month from a 6lbs lower mark. The 4-y-old receives 8lbs weight-for-age from his elders and he jumped soundly last time. He is the one to beat but Thomas McDonagh (1.50) has been placed poorly by Jamie Snowden over the larger obstacles and is surely better than he has shown over fences to date.
The ew selection did not take to the National fences at Aintree on his reappearance and Snowden seems unaware what his best trip is although all three hurdle successes were gained over two-and-a-half miles on soft ground. I am convinced that is his optimum distance, but the hope is that this near 2m 6f is within his compass. He has been dropped a couple of pounds since the Grand Sefton and he is now 8lbs below his hurdles mark. There was 10/1 around on Monday evening but he is into 13/2 with William Hill at the time of posting – 7pm Monday.
Southwell stage the first meeting on their new tapeta surface and it will be fascinating to see how the new surface plays out. In the valuable 5f sprint I hope to see a big run from the hat-trick seeking Night On Earth (4.30) who is drawn next to the front running Ornate and should get a good tow into the race.
The selection – 4s with 10Bet – was the 100th winner of the year for his excellent handler Michael Appleby who has added a further four in the last week. This inmate has a tapeta record of 211 and is taken to defy his 6lbs penalty for scoring at Wolves last week.