Heavy ground at Ffos Las for the sole jumps card and I am still kicking myself for not taking a chance with Templier at Warwick last week. He has run well from higher marks in the past and a 7lbs higher mark will not stop him if in the same mood, but not having gone to the wedding I am loath to possibly go to the funeral at such a short price.
Higgs has returned to the yard of Sarah-Jayne Davies where he won a couple of races back in 2018. He returns from a lay-off of over 500-days, however, and he is best watched unless the market speaks in his favour.
I am not convinced the well handicapped Naturally High wants deep ground and I hope to see Sabbathical (1.45) run a big race from near the foot of the weights. The ew selection – 5s with 10Bet – won from todays mark over fences on his penultimate start and ran a good race back over timber at Southwell last time. His stablemate Howdyalikemenow heads the weights and the market, but I give the each way vote to the 7-y-old who will be ridden by the talented conditional Isabel Williams.
Gustavian carried my cash when he travelled well at Exeter on New Years Day finishing just behind the facile winner Broken Halo. The problem was, however, that he decanted Rex Dingle at the first and ran loose looking to enjoy himself on the hurdles track before joining the winner on the run in. He has been put into the betting at 6/4 for his quick return and that is short enough for one who came down just five days ago.
He remains a novice chaser of considerable promise but, in the absence of Easy As That, I think New Age Dawning (2.20) can build on the promise he showed at Exeter when coming back from a 1000-day lay-off.
The ew selection – 7s with William Hill– is the outsider of the five-runner field at 9/1 and may need another run before he comes into his own. He certainly has the scope to jump a fence and I expect to see Tom Scudamore make a bold bid from the front.
There is a decent card at Kempton and in the valuable mile handicap I hope to see Alrehb (7.00) return to winning ways having just been touched off at Newcastle last time on his first start for the yard. A return to polytrack should suit this lightly raced gelding who cost his present connections 120,000 gns at Tattersalls horses-in-training sales back in October. The 5/.2 with Boylesports looks fair.