Ahh, it feels good to be back scouring the racecards to find all the stats, info and angles for the day’s racing on this beautiful Monday morning. Did I entirely switch off from racing for the last week? Did I heck. It’s always good to give yourself a short break or at least try, but I am now ready for the busy build-up to Christmas and yes I have recovered from the HWPA Awards – just.
Today’s racing is on the quieter front with just the three meetings. Plumpton is the sole jumps meeting of the day and we will have a crack at the 13:00 three runner Novice Chase on the card which looks like the most high-profile race of the day.
Let’s get cracking!
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.
The morning market drifters!
Which horse(s) is on the drift on the Betfair Sportsbook?
19:30 Wolverhampton – This Ones For Fred 15/8 OUT 85/40
Mark your card
The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today!
Trainer Alan King has an excellent 34% overall strike rate at Plumpton, and he saddles two runners today. Sonning 2.35/4 goes in the opening 12:30 Tim And Aine Wedding Week Celebration Novices’ Hurdle and will look to build on his latest victory at Catterick. In the 13:30 Tysers Maiden Hurdle, Pumpkin’s Pride 6.05/1 will complete his Plumpton team and showed a good bit of promise at Warwick on Hurdle debut and shaped as though this step up in trip will suit and jockey Gavin Sheehan has a 50% strike rate for the trainer.
For the last four years, trainer Gary Moore has targeted the 15:00 Goodwin Racing Handicap Chase and scored in 2019. He has had the SP favourite in the previous three runnings. Today, his horse is Guguss Collonges 4.57/2, steps back up in trip for his second start over fences.
In today’s 15:30 Bet Goodwin 08000 421 321 Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race at Plumpton, there’s little information for punters to go on with six of the 11 runners making their debut. Trainer Harry Fry has a 50% strike rate with his bumper runners (2-4), and his only runner on the card Fairy Gem 3.02/1, has been well supported in the overnight markets.
Trainer George Boughey saddles up the favourite Shurut 5.04/1 in the 13:15 Membership Available Now Claiming Stakes at Chelmsford, but he is just three from 50 runners at this venue for a loss of GBP34 to a GBP1 level stake.
The 14:45 Racing Welfare Handicap at Chelmsford is a tightly knit event. Still, both market leaders, Fauvette 2.4529/20 and Restless Endeavour 5.04/1 step up in grade so it could pay to look further down the betting at Huraiz 6.511/2, who is well-handicapped and likes it here and sees the tongue-tie go back on as well as the first time cheek-pieces.
Jockey Thore Hammer Hansen has a 50% strike rate when riding for owner M M Foulger and today jumps on Dark Side Prince 4.03/1 in the opening 16:00 at Wolverhampton.
In the 16:30 Coral Proud To Support British Racing Maiden Stakes at Wolverhampton, Stockpyle 2.26/5, half brother to recent Hong Kong Vase runner-up Pyledriver will look to go one better than on debut over course and distance. William Muir and Chris Grassick are zero from five with their two-year-olds here, but their runner was green as grass on debut and will surely improve today.
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.
14:00 Plumpton – I See You Well – Has won here four times (67%)
15:00 Plumpton – En Coeur – Has won here twice (40%)
15:15 Chelmsford – Delagate The Lady – Has won here twice (40%)
15:45 Chelmsford – Pianissimo – Has won here twice (33%)
Weighted to go well
“Weighted to go well” highlights horses running that are more than 10lbs below their last winning handicap mark.
15:00 Plumpton – Ivilnoble – Has won off 118 runs off 89
15:45 Chelmsford – Battle Of Marathon – Has won off 86 runs off 75
16:00 Wolverhampton – Qaaraat – Has won off 62 runs off 51
17:30 Wolverhampton – Chloellie – Has won off 60 runs off 45
17:30 Wolverhampton – Lofty – Has won off 70 runs off 53
This section highlights a trainer, owner or jockey who is in excellent current form and their runners or rides for the day.
Trainer James Fanshawe has been operating at a 43% strike rate in the last 14 days. Today he saddles one runner in the 16:30 at Wolverhampton Libertus 6.05/1.
At Plumpton today jockey Adrian Heskin has been flying along with eight winners from his last 23 rides giving him a 35% strike rate. He heads there for one ride today on Sonning 2.26/5 in the 12:30.
Today’s furthest traveller is trainer Karl Burke who heads to Chelmsford with two runners. He has made the 233-mile journey from his base to run Lightening Gesture in the 13:15 and Roamin In Gloamin in the 13:45.
Both horses are unexposed two-year-olds, and the trainer has an 18% strike rate with such horses at Chelmsford.
Lightening Gesture has been on the drift on the Betfair Sportsbook this morning but lines up in a wide-open race. Roamin In Gloamin, in turn, may have a stiff task to overturn Atheby 2.47/5, who holds some very strong summer form to his name.
Race of the day
Today we head to Plumpton for the 13:00 BetGoodwin Novices’ Chase where there is a disappointing turnout for the GBP7,000 prize with just three runners, although the maximum field size in the last ten years has been just six. However, it looks like a competitive race nevertheless.
For Pleasure fell on chase debut at Warwick when still travelling well but was firmly put in his place by the smart Edwardstone at the same venue next time.
He is what he is, and he is not going to be scaling the heights of the novice chase division, but this looks as good a chance as any to get his head in front over fences.
This sharp track should play to his strengths. However, he has been disappointing at Fakenham, Kempton and Market Rasen but scored at Stratford and Bangor, so there are mixed signals.
He will likely be able to dictate matters on the front end, with Kid Commando unlikely to chase after his tearaway tactics and he could prove tough to peg back.
However, it is the obvious angle into the race and one the bookmakers have not missed, and it’s been a good while now since he has hit the finish line hard, and he rates a risky proposition while acknowledging that he won’t have many better opportunities.
Four-year-old Nassalam saddles a ten-pound penalty for last month’s fortunate Grade 2 victory, but today’s drop in trip and the softer ground are both positives for his chances.
He is on the upgrade, and his Ascot performance for which he had Kid Commando well beaten (11 lengths) looks a solid piece of form. He jumped out to the right on that occasion, and despite being 14 pounds worse off at the weights, this left-handed track will compensate for some of that – all of it? That’s another question.
Kid Commando has been kept primarily to right-handed tracks throughout his career, but he does have an imposing Maiden Hurdle win to his name at this venue, and there was some promise to take from his Ascot third on return.
He is now 14 pounds better off with Nassalam, and he is likely to strip fitter for the run which came on the back of wind surgery and a 203-day break.
The slight concern is that he has a very good record fresh, although he did disappoint last season on the back of a wind operation. He is interesting and will be well-positioned to strike.
Big race verdict
There’s very little to separate the three, in all honesty, as the market would suggest, but I can see this being fought out between NASSALAM and Kid Commando as they For Pleasure fades after doing too much too soon. The weight reversal for Kid Commando could play a significant part, but the suggestion is that Nassalam is the better horse, and he has reasons to improve on his latest outing, so he edges the vote although you’re a braver man than me to take a pound sterling view.
Timeform offer up three of their best
Timeform’s Andrew Asquith highlights a Nap and Next Best selection at Wolverhampton on Monday.
Captain Ferny – Cheltenham Festival Focus
Missed this weeks Cheltenham Festival Focus? Not to worry, the captain has come out to play as Daryl Carter rules over this weeks Cheltenham Festival hopes and their performances.
Third time lucky for me and Lusitanien at Plumpton
In the 14:30 Goodwin Telephone Betting Handicap Hurdle, I am hoping that the old adage “third time lucky” rings true about Lusitanien today. He is undoubtedly a well-handicapped horse for Evan Williams, and it wasn’t long ago that I put him up in this column when he was given the most eye-catching ride at Chepstow on his handicap debut.
He even ended up in the final word section for that run, but I went in next time at Sedgefield when he was brought down at the third flight.
I can already hear you thinking “cliff horse”, but patience does get rewarded eventually – sometimes.
Thanks to the handicapper three pounds drop for his Chepstow run, he is now down to a mark of 99 and sneaks into this 0-100 Class 5 contest and faces a field full of exposed runners.
Today’s two-mile trip and sharper track should suit him, and he is the least exposed in the field with the most potential and faces horses in the main that find it tough to win.
I hope he gets a more prominent ride to be seen to the best effect because there is little hair left on my head that I can pull at. Take the chance!
While I was off, the big news was the Bryony Frost and Robbie Dunne case, for which, thankfully, Bryony got her justice.
Bullying in any form in any walk of life should not be accepted, and it takes courage for someone to stand up and come forward to report the matter.
I’ve had a bit of a say on this on Twitter in which I think Mr Dunne got off lightly, given the common practice with such matters from my area would have ended in much more significant damage.
The one thing that does bother me is this continued conversation over the matter. You would like to think that this is an isolated situation that went on for 18 months, yet it seems to be being treated as though this is common practice in the weighing room.
Now, suddenly, you can’t tell someone to shut up or give them a few choice words in the heat of the moment. This case should be treated in isolation given its severity and longevity and not mixed with common day to day arguing over a situation.
In this day and age, the authorities seem to struggle with what’s right and wrong and how to separate what’s serious and what’s not – is there any common sense left?
Bryony rightfully won her case, Mr Dunne has received his punishment. All that’s left is to put measures in place so that something like this doesn’t happen again.
The continued boring conversation that some want to have on the TV to drag other jockeys, journalists, pundits into a situation that should have been treated as a single isolated incident is as detrimental to the sport as anything else. It won’t be long before Gold Cup winner Minella Indo comes out with a statement and has his say on the bloody matter.
It’s done. Let’s move on!
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