If Saturday and Sunday’s action was the glamourous Bohemian equivalent to a Dylan Thomas stansa, Monday’s menu would probably be more of a Pam Ayres limerick, but that’s not to say it’s not without interest and a bit of potential.
The weekend was full of tactical sagacity, a Bryony Frost moment of magic, young pretenders and some glorious scenes for the Ancien Regime, ergo it will be mighty hard to follow any day of the week, but as always to kick off – it’s more of a workaday afternoon with the matinee performances at Wolverhampton.
Here we are then to ponder over two interesting jumps’ cards at Musselburgh and Ludlow, and I have certainly played down the latter meeting as they produce excellent ground, good races, superb prize money and it’s a great track. There’s even a 0-135 on the day which is the feature Corrie Cup at 14:00.
I don’t expect any horses at 1/14 today to be turned over like Kilcruit from the Irish weekend. One of the shortest priced favourites beaten in the last quarter of a century.
Money Talk continues to highlight the Betfair Sportsbook big-money moves to keep you in the loop. This section highlights market moves between 1:00 am and 9:00 am.
12:45 Musselburgh – Skycutter – 4/6 into 4/7
13:30 Ludlow – Miranda – 5/4 into 10/11
17:00 Wolverhampton – Hazel – 11/1 into 13/2
The market says LAY!
Which horse is the Betfair Sportsbook market suggesting to Lay?
17:00 Wolverhampton – Tricolore – 10/11 OUT to 2/1
Mark your card
The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today!
Over at Ludlow there are two Sportsbook Extra Place races at 13:00 and 15:00 and the former is when Colin Tizzard’s Ambion Hill 5.04/1 starts his chasing career from a relatively low level from a mark of 100 and should suit the step up to 2m4f. Tizzard’s strike-rate has dropped to 14% in the last two weeks, but that’s with plenty of runners over the last few days and just the one winner at Sandown.
The Venn Farm team also saddle last-time-out winner Nelson’s Rock>/strong> who won at Taunton upped to 3m and young Harry Kimber keeps the ride. The conditional has a better percentage with hurdlers (14%) than his chase mounts, while Peter Kavanagh is on Don McCain’s Steinkraus – and the “Dapper Don” is maintaining his decent win percentage over the last four weeks at 25%.
There’s an Extra Place on offer in the Musselburgh 13:45 and look no further for a hotter trainer than Alison Hamilton. She saddles Gun Merchant 3.412/5 and the yard are 2-4 at 50% in the last month.
The 8yo took advantage of a dropping mark to win at Newcastle last time and he’s been nudged up 3lb again. While Permission Granted 6.05/1 will make his chase debut in the same race after two improved hurdling efforts for Rose Dobbin. She’s got a 14% strike-rate at Musselburgh, but she lags behind McCain who has 22% at the Scottish track.
His best chance could be Collingham in the 12:45 as he looked a nice prospect on his UK debut last time. He runs in Dundee-based owner Jimmy Fyffe’s pink and black silks, and he’s a big supporter of Scottish racing.
Wolverhampton’s raceday starts at 16:00 and the feature is the 7f Handicap at 18:00. Middleham trainer Mark Johnston has If You Dare 2.68/5 in that, and when he teams up with old ally Joe Fanning, they chime in at 17% as a strike-rate – which is fairly impressive from a massive 277 runners at Dunstall Park.
Andrew Balding has the best win percentage of all trainers at Wolverhampton at 16% and he has just one runner on the whole card in Typewritten 5.04/1 in the 16:30Maiden. She cost a mere $4,500 and has a US dirt pedigree, but she might be able to hit a place behind the hot favourite Peripeteia 1.330/100. Could we see another Kilcruit?
Fellow trainer Tony Carroll is on the cold list at the moment, as he’s gone 29 runners without a winner. Jockey Jason Watson teams up with him for the first time and has four booked rides for the team. Trusty Rusty 6.05/1 goes in the finale at 19:00 and has a good record at Wolverhampton.
Horses for courses
This section highlights horses that have won twice or more at today’s tracks and could be in with a chance today.
13:45 Musselburgh – Dora De Janerio 8.07/1 – has won here twice (50%). This is also an Extra Place Special.
15:15 Musselburgh – Monsieur Co 19.018/1 – has won twice at the track (33%).
13:30 Ludlow – Miranda 2.26/5 – has won twice (100%).
14:00 Ludlow – Subcontinent 6.05/1 has won here twice (50%) and Outonpatrol 4.3100/30 – has won here twice (100%).
16:00 Wolverhampton – Ghostly 11.010/1 – has won here twice (20%).
17:00 Wolverhampton – Tricolore 2.47/5 – has won here twice (50%).
19:00 Wolverhampton – Mutabaahy 9.08/1 – has won here seven times (33%) and Trusty Rusty 6.05/1 – has won here twice (25%).
Weighted to go well
“Weighted to go well” highlights horses running that are more than 10lbs below their last winning handicap mark.
14:45 Musselburgh – Raecius Felix 3.412/5 – has won off 117 and runs off 106.
This section highlights a trainer, owner or jockey who is in excellent current form and their runners or rides for the day.
Alan King enjoyed a big race win with Edwardstone at Sandown on Saturday, and he’s hit form with three winners from his last seven runners at 42%. The mare Outonpatrol 4.3100/30 lines up in the feature Corrie Cup 14:00 Ludlow . She’s a nimble jumper and can make the running so I can see her doing well around a tight track for the owner Max McNeill.
Two trainers head to Ludlow with long drives for Monday. Andy Irvine has Whitlock in the 12:30, and he clocks up 177 miles from West Sussex. Haldon Hill is another long-distance runner from Devon for Victor Dartnall in the 13:00 Novices’ Handicap Chase and runs in the famous green and gold of JP McManus. Combing those two in a double on the Sportsbook pays 16/1.
However, the honour of the trainers with the most miles are Michael Bell from Newmarket and Sophie Leech with 350 and 357 miles respectively. Bell has Beowulf 12.011/1 in the 12:45 Juvenile Hurdle at Musselburgh. Leech has Magna Sam 7.06/1 declared for the 14:45 Handicap Chase .
Race of the day
We head to Musselburgh for today’s feature 2m Visit racingtv.com Handicap Hurdle and a decent little 0-140.
John Quinn’s First Impression 2.01/1 achieved a stylish victory at Wetherby last month and earned a 5L success with a smooth performance. He’s a strong traveller and has more than enough speed to enjoy a track such as the rapid Scottish circuit. He has gone up 7lb to 127 and could still be well-treated on his Flat form and he does possess a fine turn of foot.
I expect him to be ridden handy again but in a better race, his jumping might be pressured, especially if Minella Plus makes the running. First Impression is lightly-raced over hurdles with his two successes both at Wetherby – but he has made mistakes in those and he needs to improve his fluency.
Olly Murphy’s horses have been in form what seems likes an age, and his strike-rate is very impressive currently at 32% so we have to respect Auditoria, but she has finished runner-up a few times and unseated early at Fakenham recently.
It’s interesting Brian Hughes (who rode First Impression at Wetherby) is teaming up with Don McCain for Minella Plus, and he’s progressive. He ran quite well at Sedgefield behind a good prospect and made no mistake winning over CD on his following start by 6L. He bettered that with a 7L victory in a Catterick novice – again dominating from the front over 2m4f.
He’s adaptable with ground, and he’s only up 2lb to 121. He has a serious rival with the favourite, but his run style suits sharp tracks and in a small field applying the pressure to horses that have had one or two jumping issues, means he could be the way to go. Hughes has ridden 22 winners in the last 31 days at 23%.
Timeform offer up three of their best
Adam Houghton is the representative from the Timeform team and he casts his eye over the Wolverhampton card with a couple of strongly fancied runners and an each-way swing at 8/1. It’s well worth checking out for a tricky card on the all-weather.
There were so many Cheltenham performances and star stories from Saturday and Sunday, and I have gone about 1,000 words without mentioning how I thought Chris’s Dream was in with a big shout with the way he was travelling in the Becher. It might be pocket talking, but it took me a while to realise he had gone.
And I need a lie down after all that action, so what better way to push you to read Daryl Carter’s extensive reflections from the last 48 hours with a view to a festival bet with his latest Cheltenham Festival Focus column.
Good luck today.
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