14:30 Newton Abbot
A 4-runner race and I'll try and keep this one brief. Lamanver Pippin a 3rd at the Cheltenham festival 2 years ago in the national hunt chase has gone completely off the boil since then. Whether he has his own ideas or simply doesn't enjoy racing anymore could be a number of things. Very hard to see him involved and also burst a blood vessel last time out. Which isn't usually a good sign. Forecast is back with trainer Martin Keighley that may spark a revival but is the oldest in the field here and although is handicapped well. Has to overcome a 200 day absence.
Looks like a straight shootout between West Bridge and Take Your Time. West Bridge is going for a four timer and is in the form of his life. Is top weight here and although Jockey Tristan Durrell takes 7 pounds off. Has not been seen this trip and all his wins have come at a lot shorter trips than this one he is taking on today. Plus, the drying ground at Newton Abbot may not be to his liking.
The more reliable option is Take Your Time has won at 3 miles twice beforehand so won't mind this trip or isn't an unknown to much compared to West Bridge potentially. At the time of writing there is certainly more value in his price than West Bridge. I just feel this might be a bridge to far for West Bridge. Whereas Take Your Time is a lightly raced horse who is the youngest in the field in here may have more stamina about him.
TAKE YOUR TIME (WIN)
City Derby heads the top of the market in this race. Dropping down in grade but his last 3 runs hardly inspire confidence of a horse that is classed favourite and is worth taking on. Hold Onto The Line looks a real contender here having won at course and distance last time out. Has gone up 4 pounds for his last win here.
Petite Rhapsody ran with credit last time out at Newcastle but is now 0 wins from 13 runs and its difficult to see how the form will convert into a win today although is carrying a low weight here.
Outsider Keep The Faith would need the first time cheekpieces to work very well to be competitive here although trainer Rebecca Menzies is in really good form operating at a 25% strike rate.
Selection for me is Garde Des Champs. Soon to be champion jumps jockey Brian Hughes takes the ride for Keith Dalgleish and Brian Hughes comes into this race on the back of 2 winners at Sedgefield on Thursday.
Garde Des Champs makes his handicap debut here today and you could make excuses last time that the ground was too soft and wasn't to his liking. on a quicker surface today and this will be his first run back from having a wind operation in January. The combination of this will hopefully have a desired effect. In what doesn't look the strongest race on paper.
GARDE DES CHAMPS (WIN)
written by Luke Tucker