Chadic represents a yard in blistering form at present and he has already proven himself around this western circuit. He was a comfortable winner at Chester on his most recent outing and it is highly likely that there will be more to come from this improving three year old. Joe Fanning has already steered him to success around here and now that his partner is more streetwise, they have to be of obvious interest.
Injun Sands comes into this race at the top of his game. Two recent wins at Chelmsford and Lingfield will have boosted the confidence of this lightly raced four year old. As a consequence he has to give weight away all around but given that he remains unexposed, further improvement cannot be ruled out. He certainly looks the most formidable rival amongst this bunch and he should go well. Braes Of Lochalsh recorded a first career win over this course and distance last time out. Graham Lee has ridden him plenty of times before and they are once again likely to make another bold bid here.
Mark Johnston can do little wrong at present and this is the time of year that three year olds often get the better of their older rivals. Given that Chadic is set to receive six pounds from Injun Sands today, that could well make all of the difference in this tight knit handicap.
16:20 Newton Abbot
Ravens Nest went close on what was his only start for Lawney Hill last season. That was his first try in a handicap hurdle and he was only beaten a nose by Noir Girl. He was giving eight pounds to the winner that day and the front two pulled some twenty four lengths clear of the third placed Curragh Girl indicating that the form could prove quite useful. Curragh Girl has actually come out and won subsequently giving the form a boost.
Spin Cast has managed to hit the frame in two previous outings this season at Ffos Las and at this track. A lot of rivals lining up here are either woefully out of form or coming back from a break so he seems to set the standard. He does have to concede weight all around but he may not have to improve an awful lot in order to go close and he looks the chief danger. Seamus Mullins purposely targets these small meetings with his runners and they often go off at overinflated prices. Kentford Heiress is his representative here and she is worth keeping an eye on in the market especially with Kevin Jones claiming seven pounds off her.
Nick Schofield takes the ride on Ravens Nest for the first time, but if fit enough to do themselves justice, the combination should be able to progress further and go close here.
Ravens Nest (E/W if 9/2+)
Bachasson won his maiden at the first time of asking for Willie Mullins and did so in breathtaking style. He coasted home by no fewer than six lengths at Sligo and is likely to have learned plenty for that experience. He comes from a yard that certainly know a smart hurdler when they see one and he is likely to go onto much better things in the future. Ruby Walsh is back on board this evening and the duo should prove tough nuts to crack.
Dermot Weld specifically aims his horses at this meeting year after year. He sends the Chester Cup runner up Zafayan into battle here but this four year old has not managed to get his head in front in three previous outings over hurdles. He is fit from the flat but his temperament over obstacles remains questionable and he offers no value at current odds. Moonmeister adds further intrigue to this contest and comes into the race looking for a hat-trick of wins. Gordon Elliott certainly has a decent prospect on his hands and with Luke Dempsey claiming three pounds he meets his main market rivals on level terms. He too will not be far away.
Bachasson looks a typical Mullins improver and the grey gelding has to be high on any shortlist tonight. Ruby is likely to know a lot more about him following that facile debut win and they are taken to maintain their undefeated record.
Away from today’s Paddocks Patent we also have our two best bets for Day 1 of The Galway Festival from David Weldon:
18:15 Galway – Johannes Vermeer (E/W if 9/2+)
18:50 Galway – Modem (E/W)