Soft ground forecast at Huntingdon for the feature meeting but it is a disappointing card and the 3m handicap chase will not take much winning.

My two against the field are Loud As Lions and Allardyce (3.00) with marginal preference for the latter who is stepping up to three miles for the first time. The selection was a winner over 2m 5f for Edward O’Grady in his native Ireland and was doing all his best work late on when runner up over 2m 4f here on heavy ground last time.

He has dropped to a very attractive mark on his best form and Nick Schofield – who was in the plate last time – keeps the ride. Somehow there was 11/1 available at William Hill when betting opened but he is into 9/2 at the time of posting – just before the start of Hollyoaks.

Loud As Lions was last seen scoring over C&D 700-days ago from a 2lbs lower mark although excellent conditional Jordan Nailor takes off a valuable 3lbs. Tom Symonds gave his 9-year-old a wind operation back in November and he has won first time out in the past. A market move would be significant although he was put in shorter – 5s – than I expected.

Cooper’s Cross (12.50) has been taken out of a couple of races in recent weeks when underfoot conditions have gone from soft to heavy but, after a dry week, I am hopeful that he will be able to take his chance in the 2m 5f handicap chase at Sedgefield.

The selection – 5/2 with 10Bet – is 5lbs higher than when just getting up close home to win over 2m 3f here on his penultimate start before his stamina gave way over a trip just shy of three mikes. This intermediate trip looks ideal and good to soft ground would be ideal. En Meme Temps is another who looks ahead of the handicapper in a cracking race although the early money has been for The Mighty Arc.

Annies Prayer (1.50) has been dropped 3lbs for finishing fourth at Newcastle on his hurdles debut and I hope to see him – yes him – improve for the step up in distance by half a mile this afternoon. The selection – 7/2 with Boylesports – is open to significant improvement after just for career stars and I always take a second look at Jennie Candlish’s Sedgefield runners.

Don Herberger (2.50) is a dour stayer who rewarded the persistence of Charlie Deutsche when scoring at Lingfield last time over three miles and todays additional quarter of a mile will suit the Venetia Williams trained gelding who is fitted with cheekpieces for the first time. A 4lbs rise for his last success is fine and he can follow up. The 15/8 with MansionBet looks fair.

On good ground Grey Atlantic Way would have been a confident selection and I will certainly be looking at the winning times and jockey’s description of the going in the early races. Good to soft ground would be fine but he was disappointing on soft ground last time. There is 12/1 available on Thursday evening.

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