A small, but select field for the very first offering of the afternoon’s action packed racing. Shaun Harris looks to have the most interesting contender here with Fujin.
The five-year-old returns to the fibresand track at Southwell for the first time since crushing his opposition over course and distance last month and he is taken to get his head in front again today. Shaun Harris’ charge has since been placed in better races at Wolverhampton and he will take a bit of stopping today if in the same mood.
Behind the selection when it won here in December was the re-opposing Fortinbrass who was accounted for by some two and a bit lengths, but John Balding’s charge has came out and romped home himself since to frank the form.
Fortinbrass does still have a lot of work on to reverse the form of that December defeat, but the jockey’s five pound claim will help make it more of a competitive race this time around.
Ron Harris has two in the race, but Arizona Snow looks the pick of his pair. The four-year-old also boasts a course and distance win to his name, but was well held by Fortinbrass last time and would need the two principles to have an off day to better some minor place money.
15:10 Gowran Park
An afternoon of high class action in Ireland and this 3m1f handicap chase might just have the most intriguing field of the lot.
Gigginstown Stud come into this valuable race with an embarrassment of riches with no less than five runners and while stable jockey Bryan Cooper may have opted for Mouse Morris’ more fancied Folsom Blue, talented claimer Jack Kennedy looks to have landed the plum ride on Rule the World.
The conditional jockey takes off a valuable five pounds from a horse who already has some nice pieces of form to his name. This luckless nine-year-old was runner up to The New One in the 2013 Neptune at Cheltenham and has since endured a horrible time of things with injury. As such he has yet to record a victory over fences, but even still his form makes for some incredible reading. Runner up in no less than seven of his eleven attempts over fences to date, he has been runner up in high class races such as the Irish Grand National and the Kerry National most recently. The jockey’s claim means he can run off just 1lb higher today and he has an outstanding chance of landing some each way money at a massive price with conditions to suit.
Gordon Elliott may just provide the main danger to the selection as his Ucello Conti looks to revel in the likely conditions and he finished one place ahead of the selection in the Paddy Power, but will have to meet that rivals on 2lb worse terms. That being said the stable’s french import was a regular winner in this type of ground back in France and looks certain to at least be in the shake up.
Another horse who could run a big race at a price is My Murphy. The Willie Burke entry was runner up in this race twelve months ago when chasing home Cheltenham Gold Cup contender Djakadam that day and he comes in here off an identical mark and once again has his favoured testing conditions. He has disappointed connections since then, but may give the principal two something to think about if back on song here.
Rule The World (E/W)
The final selection of the day comes from Essex and another evening of all-weather action at Chelmsford City. The course is one that horses either take to or they don’t and so the presence of a course specialist in this six furlong handicap looks to be the ideal solution. Charlie Dwyer’s runner Saved My Bacon comes here with a sterling record as three of his four wins last season were at this very track. He has won at both five and six furlongs as well on the course and so the form of his close second here last time out, not only proved his love of these surroundings, but also of his well being and he looks poised to strike again today off only 2lb higher.
The main danger will likely come from Stuart Williams horse Ohsosecret who scored last time out with a battling win over the minimum trip at Wolverhampton. The horse is only 2lb higher for that win and while he does have an impressive 33% strike rate on the all weather, it has to be a concern that all his wins have come over the five furlongs and so the extra furlong today may be his undoing off this revised mark.
Another horse who is highly respected is Charlie Hills’ runner Barbs Princess. The six-year-old has been tumbling down the weights whilst on a winless run dating back to last year. He now finds himself back on a workable mark and while he is not the most reliable runner in the world, the six-time winner over today’s distance might be the one to worry the selection if on a going day.
Saved My Bacon (E/W)