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Today’s Racing News: Harris’ Howard all the rage at Wolverhampton as price crashes

Monday’s racing action comes from Chepstow, Punchestown, Fakenham and Wolverhampton and as always on hand to guide you through is Daryl Carter.

There’s a good handful of meetings to get stuck into today for punters and plenty to discuss from the weekend which saw the best of racing in Ireland and the not so good at Kelso.

Money Talk

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.

13:00 Chepstow – Lanspark 33/1 into 22/1
14:00 Chepstow – Firak 13/2 into 9/2
16:30 Wolverhampton – My Names Howard 10/1 into 5/1
18:00 Wolverhampton – Civil Law 18/1 into 9/1

A sustained morning gamble on trainer Ronald Harris’ My Names Howard has seen his runner slashed from 10/1 into 5/1 at Wolverhampton. His runner has been dropped 15 pounds in three runs but showed a good deal more in the first time cheek-pieces last time at Lingfield and is up in trip to 1m.

The morning market drifters !

Which horse is the Betfair Sportsbook market suggesting to Lay?

14:35 Chepstow – West To The Bridge 6/4 OUT 2/1 – Very surprising

Mark your card

The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today!

Trainer Olly Murphy has had four winners from seven individual runners at Fakenham this season. He sends three runners there today, but Aidan Coleman heads up for just one in handicap debutant Sure Touch 2.56/4 in the 13:40.

Best known for his flat exploits, trainer Archie Watson rarely misses the target when heading to Fakenham, having had three winners from five runners at this venue (60%). All of those have come over hurdles, and today he sends his first bumper horse Bounce Back 2.35/4 in the 15:55 Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race.

In the opening 12:30 Cazoo Novices’ Hurdle at Chepstow, trainer Chris Honour has a 50% strike rate over hurdles at this venue. He saddles short-priced favourite Mayhem Maya 1.84/5.

Jonjo O’Neill Jr makes the trip to Chepstow for one ride on Rabski 13.012/1 in the 13:00 Handicap Hurdle.

Firak 5.04/1 in the 14:00 and West To The Bridge 2.68/5 in the 14:35 at Chepstow are Dan and Harry Skelton’s only two entries of the day. The quickfire double pays 13.012/1.

At Punchestown in the opening 12:50, Gordon Elliott’s flat recruit and newcomer The Tide Turns 2.56/4 and Boodles Juvenile Handicap favourite Champion Green 3.02/1 will go head to head in what could prove an informative clash.

At the same venue, Minella Crooner will look to get off the mark over hurdles in a Maiden contest at 15:00 after finishing second to Journey With Me at Leopardstown on his debut and could be a big player in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival.

At Wolverhampton in the 17:30, jockey Daniel Muscutt has a 33% strike rate at this venue when riding for trainer Stuart Williams. He rides Tributo 11.010/1.

Jockey Tom Marquand will look to enhance his 43% strike rate for trainer Joseph Parr in the 19:30 at Wolverhampton. He rides Crestwood 11.010/1.

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.

17:30 Wolverhampton – Water Of Leith – Has won here twice (40%)
18:30 Wolverhampton – Clap Your Hands – Has won here three times (50%)

Weighted to go well

“Weighted to go well” highlights horses running that are more than 10lbs below their last winning handicap mark.

14:35 Chepstow – West To The Bridge – Has won off 133 runs off 122

Form Watch

This section highlights a trainer, owner or jockey who is in excellent current form and their runners or rides for the day.

Trainer’s Simon and Ed Crisford have had four winners from their last seven runners for a 57% strike rate in the last 14 days. Today they saddle Base Note 3.02/1 in the 19:00 at Wolverhampton.

Furthest traveller

Today, trainer Lucinda Russell makes the 306-mile journey to Wolverhampton for her only runner of the day, Praise Of Shadows 13.012/1 17:00. She has had two winners from nine runners at this venue and books Tom Marquand for the first time.

Race of the day

Chepstow’s 14:00 Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase, looks like a good race to tackle today, and it’s no surprise to see Venetia Williams’ runner Frenchy Du Large heading the market given the fine fettle she has her string and the dominance of his latest victory at Uttoxeter.



Trainer: Venetia Williams
Jockey: Charlie Deutsch
Age: 7
Weight: 11st 5lbs
OR: 129

He ran out an impressive winner by five lengths and, as a consequence, has been hit with a nine-pound rise from the handicapper. That form hasn’t really worked out other than the fifth scoring next time, but that rival almost certainly would have needed that reappearance. Today’s ask is a bit tougher, but his latest win was, by and large, a career-best effort, and now his task is to build on that.

He isn’t the most assured jumper, and this Chepstow track can offer a stiff test in that department, so he will need to improve, but he has likeable claims.



Trainer: Dan Skelton
Jockey: Harry Skelton
Age: 7
Weight: 11st 0lbs
OR: 124

Firak is one of the more interesting runners in the race after he caught the eye under tender handling on seasonal return over hurdles and the switch back to fence is a source of improvement off of this lowly mark of 124.

He has had one run over fences and was not disgraced in very strong company back in 2020 and returns to the scene of his ten length Maiden Hurdle demolition job 12 months ago.

Race fit, and on his second start after a wind surgery, he is arguably the runner with the most scope to improve and will relish conditions.



Trainer: David Pipe
Jockey: Tom Scudamore
Age: 8
Weight: 11st 6lbs
OR: 130

Eden Du Houx seemingly improved for the wind surgery to finally get off the mark at the fifth attempt over fences on seasonal return at Ffos Las, and that form got given a boost by the runner-up next time out. A five pounds higher mark should not be enough to stop him from taking another step forwards, and this step up in trip should be well within range.

He has proven unreliable in the past, but it would be no surprise to see him fulfil his early promise.

Big race verdict

A trappy heat and Farne is not out of it either, but preference is for FIRAK, who has plenty of scope to prove a better chaser than hurdler and his dominant Maiden Hurdle win here on his penultimate start is fresh in the memory. In the hope that Harry Skelton opts to make the running, he can put today’s favourite French Du Large under pressure in the jumping department.

Timeform take aim at Wolverhampton

Timeform’s Andrew Asquith highlights a Nap, Next Best and Each-Way selection at Wolverhampton on Monday.

Final Word

Bob Olinger was fantastic at the weekend, but for some reason, many on social media were not impressed with the performance. One comment I saw suggested he was worth taking on a Cheltenham because he was bumped along around the home turn. Complete madness, in my opinion, given I thought he had plenty in hand, and he looks a three-miler in waiting, just the type of progression you want from a future Gold Cup horse.

Dysart Dynamo beat very little, but there is no getting away from the electric front running performance he put in, and the question is, where will he go in March? One on Willie Mullins will know.

From the excellent spectacle of Punchestown to the frustrating annoyance of the low sun at Kelso.

A tough day for punters at Kelso as the low sun saw the removal of up to 50% of the obstacles in most races during the afternoon. This is, obviously, a safety issue but frustrating for punters who had bet the races expecting to see a hurdle race rather than a glorified flat one.

You wouldn’t see this drastic change of circumstances to any other betting event without a market re-shuffle, so why should punters put up with it?

I’ve run a poll on Twitter to see whether people think that removing 50% of the obstacles in a race should see a bet stand or returned.

We can pick this up tomorrow.

Until then, be lucky.
Follow Daryl Carter on Twitter @DarylCarter7

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