Fifteen will go to post for Saturday’s Lanzarote Hurdle from Kempton and Kloud Gate is the 3/1 market leader with BetVictor who are betting each way four places (1/5th odds) on the race. An interesting market move yesterday was for Dan Skelton’s Solomon Grey (20s from 33/1 at BetVictor) who is bred to appreciate the step up in trip to 2m 5f, but must put behind a poor effort at Doncaster last time.
Good Man Jim cost connections E360,000 when sold at auction in Ireland in November 2017 following an impressive point win. The gelding has only had one start since joining Tom George when beaten more than 50 lengths last April. The horse is fitted with a tongue-tie for the first-time and has had his wind tweaked ahead of today’s belated seasonal reappearance. A check of the market is advised.
The flat bred The Flying Sofa (1.30) is another having his first start of the season but was considered good enough to contest the Champion Bumper having won a Fontwell Bumper last term. This sharp track at Sedgefield should suit this flat-bred sort who represents Gary Moore who will saddle Kloud Gate tomorrow.
The feature race is the Fen Chatteris Juvenile Hurdle, and this is something of a retrieval mission for likely favourite Fret D’Estruval who won two soft ground hurdles in his native France before running moderately at Cheltenham on his British debut last month. I am convinced he is better than that.
Charlie Mann saddles the once-raced Prabeni (2.55) who ran a race full of promise when third murky Kempton over Christmas 6l behind Beat The Judge who reopposes on 6lbs better terms. The selection – who was rated in the high 70s on the level for William Haggas – needs to improve his hurdling but if he does I feel he can turn the tables on the winner at the revised terms.
I felt Embole lost little in defeat behind Style De Garde – run well in defeat at Taunton over hurdles earlier in the week – on his chase debut at Hereford (2m) and he is bred to appreciate today’s additional half-mile. The vote, however, goes to recent facile soft-ground Hexham winner Niven (3.00) who represents the burgeoning yard of Philip Kirby.
The selection made leading RSA Chase fancy Delta Work pull out all the stops at Down Royal, when trained by Noel Meade, earlier in the season and today’s return to better ground should suit. He gets the narrow vote in what promises to be a most informative contest.
There is a terrific handicap chase over 2m 4f at Sedgefield and Tayzar has not had the best of luck in the first half of the season – but if he completes he invariably runs a big race. The vote, however, goes to The Paddy Pie (2.50) who I feel can cope with the drop back in trip having been campaigned over 3m and further in recent starts. The mare Inch Lala failed to cope with the step up in class at Cheltenham last time but was an impressive C&D scorer on her penultimate start.
Nortonthorpelegend (3.20) has ran the opposition ragged in his last couple of starts and I thought he was given a cracking ride from the front by amateur Aaron Anderson at Wetherby a week ago. The selection is a C&D winner and will be a tough nut to crack if in the same mood as last time.
In the Become The Face Of BetVictor Conditions event at Dundalk this evening I hope to see Jim Bolger’s Theobold (6.30) bounce back to winning ways having run well in handicap company last time. Connections look to have found a good opportunity for their four-year-old who obviously goes well on the surface.
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