The ground was described as good at Carlisle on Wednesday morning but there was significant rain forecast for later in the day and it would be no surprise if conditions were just on the soft side of good.
Sizing Pottsie has his first start for David Pipe having left the yard of Jessica Harrington since he finished down the field in the Topham at Aintree back in the spring. He cost his new connections £95,000 gns which seems plenty for an 8-y-old gelding. He finished in the frame twice in four starts over timber in his native Ireland, but has not run over hurdles since coming down at the last in a modest three-runner in January 2021.
The filly Iorans is half the age of the Pipe runner and won her sole point-to-point in her native Ireland. She cost £100,000 back in the spring but the form of her success between the flags has subsequently taken a couple of knocks.
SPRINGWELL BAY finished runner up to Adamantly Chosen in the valuable Bumper at the Punchestown Festival last year and only made one start for Jonjo O’Neill last term when easily landing the odds in a Bumper at Market Rasen in November. He cost £155,000 after his Punchestown run and remains an exciting prospect.
Recommendation: Springwell Bay at
I think the layers have got the extended three-mile handicap chase right and would be surprised if this didn’t go to one of the market leaders. The Ferry Man and STEP BACK head the betting and the vote goes to the veteran who was last seen finishing fourth in the Bet365 Gold Cup – 3m 5f – when he was clear for much of the race before fading inside the last quarter mile.
The selection is 12 years old but has only had eighteen starts under rules, must go right-handed, and starts this season 15lbs lower in the weights than this time last year. Ridden by 7lbs claimer Lily Bradstock for her father Mark it should be noted that the selection wore blinkers for the first time at Sandown back in the spring. His usual cheekpieces are back this afternoon.
Bradstock has not trained a winner for some time but he famously campaigned Coneygree to win the Gold Cup and I hope there is at least one last hurrah for the yar- with Step Back.
Recommendation: Step Back at 3/1 with William Hill
SWIFT FLIGHT is fitted with a tongue-tie for the first time by Ken Condon and the handicapperhas seen fit to drop the each way recommendation 5lbs since finishing fourth at Navan last time when he missed the break and was caught on the wrong side of the track.
The grey has only run one of his thirteen career starts, but will enjoy the forecast soft ground, goes well for today’s talented apprentice and the yard did have a welcome winner at Cork at the end of September.
Recommendation: Swift Flight EW at
The concluding mile handicap is a belter, and I am surprised to see Croupier make his all-weather debut despite the fact that he is a half-brother to a previous winner on a synthetic surface. A winner at Windsor when slowly away on his penultimate start, he was constantly denied a run when only fifth at Haydock last time. He would certainly have been placed with a clear run, has a terrific draw in stall one and Harry Burns takes off a valuable 3lbs.
James Doyle takes over in the saddle aboard STORMY OCEAN who has an all-weather – tapeta – record of 1-2 and who was too keen at Newmarket last time when well backed over nine furlongs. Charlie Appleby’s gelded son of Frankel made all at Newcastle back in January and I wonder if Doyle will consider similar tactics as there is little guaranteed pace in the race.
Be Lucky My Son has won three of his five starts on an all-weather surface and dotted up over C&D in first time blinkers from a 5lbs lower mark last time. He gets on particularly well with Rossa Ryan and is another progressive, well drawn three-year-old to consider in a hot little race.
Recommendation: Stormy Ocean EW at 9/2 with William Hill 4 places