Jim Crowley enjoyed a terrific winter in his debut season as Sheikh Hamdan’s retained rider and arrives back from Dubai World Cup night at Meydan to partner Wurdood (1.50) for William Haggas at Wolverhampton. The selection was a beaten favourite when last seen finishing fifth at Doncaster in November however, based on the Dark Angel filly’s excellent third on debut at Yarmouth, is chanced to shed the maiden tag at third time of asking stepping up in trip.
Crowley partners exciting colt Muqaatil in the 3yo Handicap over an extended nine furlongs with Richard Hannon’s charge unexposed after showing promise in all three runs in maiden company. The son of Lonhro was a beaten favourite when last seen running over 7f and should improve for the step up in trip however, preference lies instead with James Fanshawe’s Enfolding (3.20) under Silvestre de Sousa. The selection was well-backed to score over course and distance under SDS three weeks ago, and should be able to follow-up now sent back handicapping from a lucrative mark of 74.
Alan King’s Grumeti (3.50) is a G1 winner over hurdles and after falling to an attractive mark on the level looks well-treated to land the feature Stayers’ Handicap under regular partner Fergus Sweeney. The 9yo won the Cesarewitch at Newmarket just 18 months ago and, from a 3lb lower mark, must reward each-way support in the feature.
There’s NH action from Market Rasen and Plumpton, with Philip Hobbs’ He’s A Bully (2.50) difficult to oppose at the latter. The selection made a terrific return last time out at Ludlow, finishing second in a competitive handicap chase on his first start for 468 days, and should go one better with the cobwebs well and truly blown away.
Authorized Too (3.00) was likewise second last time out however, was unlucky not to get his head in front at Towcester and remains well-treated for the 2m 4f Handicap Hurdle. The 6yo was given a mark of 120 after a promising start to his career as a juvenile but struggled thereafter, and has been raised just 2lb for that neck defeat. He was keeping on well over the minimum trip and can hopefully go one better now back up in trip.
Providing there are no ill-effects for the quick turnaround I think Goonjim (3.30) remains ahead of his mark and should take the 2m Handicap Chase under regular partner Richie McClernon. The selection travelled well before failing to see out three miles at Stratford on Saturday and should make amends dropped back in trip from an unrevised mark.
At Market Rasen, I’m keen to stay loyal to Pam Sly’s All My Love (3.20) who was out-stayed up Catterick’s long run in last time out by Micky Hammond’s Becky The Thatcher having previously fended off Dan Skelton’s Golden Vision. The pair paid the price for duelling up the home straight but prior to that looked so impressive when scoring over course and distance and can defy the burden of top weight in the 2m Handicap Hurdle from an inviting mark of 119.