Sedgefield play host to a competitive jumps card later today and the consistent Brother Scott (2.50) will appreciate stepping back up in trip having been done for toe at Kelso last time over the extended two miles.
It has been a frustrating time for trainer Sue Smith who has only saddled one winner from her last 30 runners but she has had any number of horses placed during that period and the selection, significantly, was very well supported last time. I would be disappointed if he wasn’t good enough to get the better of Pistol Basc who, including jockey’s allowances, must give 5lbs to the Smith-trained seven-year-old.
Apache Pilot (1.20) looked a progressive sort when chasing home Brave Buck at Hexham earlier in the month and, although 5lbs higher in the weights, can go one better in the stayers’ handicap chase over 3m 3f. That was his first piece of form for Maurice Barnes but he is obviously going to be a better chaser than hurdler. Crafti Bookie looks the danger and is very well handicapped on his old hurdles form although his ability to stay this marathon trip on soft ground is a concern.
I like the booking of Jason Maguire for Amir Pasha who won this corresponding race last year from a 10lbs higher mark under today’s jockey and the blinkers he wore last time are replaced by a visor which was the aid he wore 12 months ago. He didn’t appear to get home over further last time and he certainly knows how to win given he is looking for a tenth career success and third over today’s C&D.
Note Donald McCain entered six horses for the Sedgefield meeting and none were declared. He has not had a horse from the yard run since the 15th of the month and this must be a very frustrating time for all involved. Let’s hope they are all back fit and well very soon.
At Lingfield Golan To War (12.30) can make a wining hurdles debut for David Dennis. The selection cost £100,000 earlier in the year having won an Irish point-to-point and whilst chasing will, ultimately be his game, he can take care of The Green Ogre who sets a reasonable standard for Gary Moore. Golan To War ran well in third in a Chepstow Bumper at the beginning of the month on his first start for new connections, and I would be very disappointed if he wasn’t competitive in this grade this afternoon although he will get further in time.
Strange Bird (1.00) can make a winning chase debut for Richard Rowe in the mares’ handicap chase. The selection has form in Irish points and was well backed at Fontwell last time. She gets further and Aidan Coleman, her regular pilot, rides Sand Artist for Venetia Williams. The latter was backed into 2/1 on her seasonal reappearance at Plumpton earlier in the month but ran no sort of race. She is 3lbs lower on her chase debut and it will be interesting to see if connections try and recoup losses.