This writer tends not to allow a significant move for a horse in the morning sway his judgement, but is making an exception today at Uttoxeter where a David Pipe runner looks a tidy bet after generating market strength this morning.
If any stable know how to ready a horse for a handicap it’s the Pipe’s, who have pulled off so many gambles in the National Hunt game than any sane man can remember.
The horse in question today is Bladoun in the 32Red Casino Handicap Hurdle and although he’s still a maiden after 11 starts this race looks well within his reach, especially after the money has come for him this morning. He was 7/1 at the rise of the sun, but is now best priced 4/1.
Trawling back through the five-year-olds form nothing stands out too much of late bar an excellent effort at Chepstow, where he was scampering clear with quite a deep novice hurdle race before taking an almighty tumble at the last.
That fall was a nasty one and he was lucky to get up from it, and stable sources believe that it completely knocked the horse’s confidence for future efforts. Following that mistake, his jumping has gone to pot in most of his subsequent eight races. He’s been mistiming his hurdles and putting down when his jockey has asked him to attack one. Never a good sign.
But there were signs of a revival last time out at Taunton, where he jumped with much more confidence and guile. Under Tom Scudamore, he looked set to play a part in the finish with three to jump but he faded away tamely with the look of a horse that doesn’t stay three miles.
He’s shaped like that at Exeter and Wincanton before that too, travelling well with the leaders before emptying rather suddenly when the taps were turned on.
Dropped back to 2m4f, he makes more appeal in a race that doesn’t look overly strong.
His mark is also dropping, which is a positive. Pipe charge’s was rated 117 three starts ago, now he’s 110.
At this kind of trip he should be able to go close to winning races considering some of his novice hurdle form.
At 4/1 today, we’ll plump for a two point win.
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