A terrific card at Wetherby this afternoon and we begin with the Beginners’ Chase over an extended three miles. If In Doubt came down at the second on his chase debut and a clear round might be the order of the day although Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson remain in scintillating form.
Walk ON Al is entitled to come on for his run at Worcester last month but marginal preference is for Sego Success (12.50) who would have finished much closer at Chepstow on his chase debut behind the exciting Sausilito Sunrise were it not for clouting four out.
Donald McCain has his first runner in eleven days in the 2m handicap chase with Dunowen Point and he will be desperate for signs that his yard are back to their best. Tresor De Bontee (1.50) could have been raised more than 3lbs for winning at Lingfield last time and he is one in the field who wouldn’t be inconvenienced if there was significant rain which is forecast.
It wasn’t much of a race Whiskey Ridge won over today’s C&D back in the spring but he can run well with a recent pipe-opener under his belt but David Pipe looks to have found an excellent opportunity for Smiles For Miles (3.00) to follow up last week’s Chepstow win under a 7lbs penalty. The selection was a different proposition in first-time blinkers on his chase debut and although the slight drop back in trip is a concern his handler insists there is more to come and it will be a surprise if he wasn’t able to follow up.
AP McCoy returns for one ride in the opener at Fontwell following his recent injury and partners Southfield Royale for Neil Mulholland. Punters are likely to latch on to the fact that the 19-time Champion jockey will want to come back with a winner ahead of the three-day Newbury meeting but he might be overbet and Coologue (12.40) gets the vote for Charlie Longsdon.
The selection was no match for Minella Present at Uttoxter on his British debut last month having been bought by present connections for £34,000 back in May having finished runner up in an Irish p-t-p on heavy ground. He might cope with the forecast ground (heavy) better than Southfield Royale although the latter might be the better long term prospect. Note Southfield Royale’s trainer Neil Mulholland also saddles Minella Present so you could argue he should know where he stands with Coologue but the heavy ground sways me towards the latter.
Home For Tea (1.10) has a 6lb pull with Withy Hills for the half-length which separated the pair over C&D earlier in the month and the Tom Symonds trained 5-y-old can reverse the form on the revised terms.
Ballydague Lady (3.20) caught a tarter when well beaten by Southway Star (receiving 21lbs) over C&D last month but is 2lbs lower today and can build on that chase debut which wasn’t a bad run despite the paucity of runners (three). She is the youngest in the field, has form on heavy ground in the p-t-p field and can improve past today’s rivals despite top-weight.
There is a valuable 10f Handicap at Lingfield and Maverick Wave (2.35) might just be able to get home back on polytrack having looked a non-stayer on the Tapeta surface at Wolverhampton last time. The hope is that jockey Robert Havlin can nurse his stamina and pounce fast and late on a colt who ran away with his sole previous start on today’s surface.
There is a listed race this evening at Kempton Park and the unbeaten 3-y-old filly Kalaatah (6.45) gets the vote despite a massive rise in grade. She has plenty to find with Grendisar and Harris Tweed but
won a shade cosily, albeit in handicap company last time, and connections obviously feel she is worth a step up in class.