PADDOCKS PATENT (THURSDAY)

13:40 Taunton My first selection today comes at Taunton in a mares handicap hurdle run over two miles three furlongs and 110 yards. The Alan King trained Prettyasapicture heads the betting here and should welcome the return to a more suitable surface having found the ground a bit too soft last time out. Saying that, she offers little in the way of value here and I don’t think she looks all that well treated on paper. She may win this but I think that others look better treated and are better value. Also prominent in the betting here is the Henry Daly trained five year old Queen Spud. Like the Alan King trained mare much of her running so far has been done at a fairly ordinary level. While she may improve again to win this, she is another who does not look all that well treated on paper. The one that I have decided to take a chance on here is the Tom Lacey trained nine year old Cloudy Spirit. The mare has been out of form since falling over fences last December at Leicester. While there is a chance that she could be gone sour over that fall, she has seen her mark drop by 12lbs in her last two races alone. You only have to go back to April of last year to find her running up to a mark in the 130 range and this will possibly be her easiest opposition in a very long time. If she still retains ability I think she could win this easily, and that is why she is more of a tentative selection rather than a confident one as it’s a big if. Cloudy Spirit (WIN)

13:55 Clonmel My second selection today runs at Clonmel in a competitive looking three mile handicap hurdle . Heading the betting here will  be the Gordon Elliott trained mare Clara McCloud. The daughter of Cloudings will have a major fitness advantage over a good few of her rivals as she has been on the go since July. Her run at Cheltenham last time out is probably the best piece of form on offer and a mark of 129 looks like it could be improved on. The race is a very competitive one though and one of the others in the lineup could offer some more each way value. Also prominent in the betting here will be the Gigginstown owned Make a Track trained by Charlie Swan. This will be the geldings first start over hurdles in over two years and he does look better over the larger obstacles. Given that he returns from a 206 day absence,you would to think that this race is only a stepping stone for the Troytown chase on Sunday week. With that in mind I think something at an each way price appeals most here. The one that appeals at an each way price is the Colin Bowe trained Tawseef who is another who will have no fitness concerns. The son of Monsun looks one of the better handicapped runners in the field and could have upwards of eleven pounds in hand on the best of his form. He also has the assistance of Danny Benson claiming a vital five pounds and that could prove crucial come the finish here. With a clear round he should have a say in the finish and is certainly handicapped with a chance to win this. Tawseef (E/W if 5/1+)

15:25 Clonmel We stay in Ireland for my final selection today, a handicap chase run over two miles two furlongs and 200 yards. I think that this race surrounds the two at the head of the market but it is hard to get away from the Henry De Bromhead trained Elegant Statesman. The bay seven year old got off the mark over fences at the eight time of asking and although the winning margin was only half a length, it could have been so much more as it was a cheeky ride. A current mark of 118 looks extremely lenient as I think he could be easily capable of a mark in the mid 130’s. With a clear round he should take all the beating here. The selection has most to fear from the Charles Byrnes trained Angela’s Money who is returning here from a 355 day absence. The son of Vinnie Roe is probably a horse to keep on side, whatever happens today as he looks like he could be on a very lenient mark. Normally runners from this yard are eased back in to things after returning from their summer breaks and considering this horse has been off the track a year, he may need more than one run to get back to full fitness. Of the remainder the only other runner that looks close to the same level of the two market principles is Spot Fine. The fact that it took twenty six runs for him to break his maiden tag is a big worry though. Elegant Statesman (WIN)