Soft ground forecast on the hurdle course for today’s card at Leicester and in the opener, I hope to see White Hart Lady (1.20) build on her win at Fontwell last time for the very much inform yard of Harry Fry.
I remember the mare winning an Aintree Bumper on her racecourse debut on soft ground and thinking she could be smart, but she lost her way in her first season over timber. The Fry yard were Largely out of sorts last term and the hope is that this inmate is capable of much better now that she has sot her head in front.
The fact that she has been off the track over ten weeks since her last start suggests she has had a setback since her last start, but I do feel she is capable of defying a 3lbs rise for her narrow success last time. Emma Lavelle’s talented conditional Joe Anderson looks a significant jockey booking. The 7/2 with MansionBet on Monday evening looks fair.
Tokay Dokey (3.50) has been raised 11lbs for a fluent win at Market Rasen last time but, such was the ease of that success, that I expect to see him follow up for the inform Dan Skelton yard. Three of the five runners are last time out winners and the other pair finished runner up so all five hold realistic chances. The selection is 11/8 at William Hill at the time of posting.
The biggest danger may come from the Irish import Nero Rock who needs decent ground to be seen at his best. Note the chase course at Leicester was described as good on Monday morning with a dry forecast.
In the finale I hope to see Mr Grey Sky (4.20) improve for what was his first start in 12 months when he was a bit fresh and failed to get home over 2m 3f+ at Lingfield last month. He drops back to the minimum trip this afternoon for Kim Bailey, and he can race from a 4lb lower mark.
Kim Bailey won the feature race at the Lingfield Winter Million on Sunday, and I always thought Mr Grey Sky would make a decent hurdler having won both Bumper starts on soft/heavy ground at Haydock. I expect to see David Bass make plenty of use of his mount with his own run at Lingfield last month under his belt. He gets the each way vote at 13/2 with William Hill.
I remember jockey Robert Winston being interviewed on Sky Racing after his win aboard Charlie Appleby’s Stormy Ocean at Newcastle when he suggested that the second stablemate Blue Trail (5.00) is held in some regard by the stable and he certainly ran an eye-catching race on debut. He is taken to go one better this afternoon with David Probert takin g over in the saddle.
I do feel Stormy Ocean is one to follow going forward and Blue Trail blew the start, was too keen and met trouble in running at Gosforth Park. In the circumstances he ran a very good race to be beaten just over 3L on debut and I hope to see him break on terms with that run under his belt. He wore a hood on debut and no surprise to see the headgear reapplied this afternoon. If he learns to settle, I believe he could be smart. There was odds against – 6/5 – about on Monday but he makes no appeal at 8/13.
The Gosdens’ Master Sergeant – another running in the blue of Godolphin – is the obvious danger dropping back down to a mile having looked a non-stayer on debut over 10f also at Newcastle on debut.