MAKTU (3.10) was a costly failure in the Coral Welsh National after a sustained market plunge but punters can recoup losses in the 3m 4f WilliamHill.com Handicap Chase at Ffos Laas on Saturday. Pat Murphy’s pride and joy jumped impeccably at Chepstow but was a tad too free for his own good, eventually fading into fifth. The competition doesn’t look quite so fierce here and a bold show is eagerly anticipated.
At Sandown, NOBLE ALAN (4.00) should get the good ground he enjoys in the Totesport.com Handicap Chase. He was still travelling well within himself when coming to grief three out in the Vote A P Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December won by Poquelin and earlier ran into another useful sort in Woolcombe Folly at Ascot.
Nicky Henderson relies on MOOSE MORAN (1.25) from four entries in the opening Totesport.com Juvenile Hurdle, with A P McCoy booked. Moose Moran was last seen running out of Henry Cecil’s yard, finishing fourth to Harris Tweed in a 1m 4f handicap at Newmarket in September, and could be a useful recruit to the jumping game.
The all-weather has been a happy hunting ground lately and LOVERS CAUSEWAY (3.25) is making up into a smart middle-distance handicapper for Mark Johnston. He won twice here last season, despite showing signs of greeness, and he quickly put his rivals to the sword at Kempton last month. The son of Giant’s Causeway is progressive and looks perfectly capable of defying his penalty.
SOFIAS NUMBER ONE (4.00) has missed a couple of engagements lately for Michael Wigham but the trainer’s patience should be rewarded in this pretty average looking maiden. Jamie Spencer again takes the mount after placed efforts here at Lingfield and Kempton. His pedigree shouts stamina, so this step up to seven furlongs seems ideal.