My first selection today comes at Fontwell in what looks a relatively weak handicap chase run over two miles and six furlongs.
This race looks full of exposed types who find it hard to get their heads in front. Even though Strawberry Hill is nine years old, he is very lightly raced for his age and still totally unexposed. This will only be his sixth chase start and he has managed to hit the frame in three of those, winning once. I think the return to this track is bound to suit too as he ran out an emphatic winner here, three starts back and only runs off a three pound higher mark. With a clear round he is sure to be involved and should take all the beating in what looks a weak race.
He probably has most to fear from the Ali Stronge trained Moneymix who he has to concede plenty of weight to. The eight year old is also relatively unexposed as this will only be his fifth chase start. The gelding comes here on the back of a win in what was probably a weaker race than this, so he has to step up on that effort. That was only his first win in sixteen career starts so he is another in the field who struggles to get his head in front.
Of the remainder Popaflora is another with each way claims as is Morestead, but this trip does stretch his stamina.
Strawberry Hill (WIN)
For my second selection today we head to Kelso for the Morebattle hurdle, run over two miles and two furlongs.
It’s hard to get away from the Tim Easterby trained Hawk High who comes on best at the weights here. The five year old has shown a high level of consistency since sent over hurdles, winning four of his nine starts. While he is capable of being placed in handicaps off his current mark, a conditions race like this gives him a great chance of registering another win over hurdles. With a clear round the gelding should take all the beating in this contest.
The Nicky Richards inmate Glingerburn looks like he may give the selection most to think about here. The son of Kings Theatre meets the selection on 8lbs worse terms than if they met in a handicap, but looks a horse who is improving. While he was a narrow winner on his last start, I think he was possibly value for another length or two as he made a bad mistake two from home. Glingerburn was well behind another one of today’s runners in a bumper that might suggest that he has a bit to find with Hawk High in this.
Meadowcroft Boy meets Hawk High here again after finishing a length and half behind him at Musselburgh, six weeks ago. He does however now meet that rival on fourteen pound worse terms here and you would have to think that he should not turn around the form, on those terms. It is also Meadowcroft Boy who beat Glingerburn quite cozily in a bumper and that would suggest that both might have a bit to find with Hawk High here.
The biggest danger to the selection could come from Tanerko Emery who does meet Hawk High on slightly worse than handicap terms. The main worry with him is that he spent over a year out and we did not get many clues to his well being on his last start.
Hawk High (WIN)
For my final selection today we head to Leicester for a handicap chase run over two miles four furlongs and 110yds.
Heading the betting in this contest is the Philip Hobbs trained Cloud Creeper who is a talented but frustrating sort who always seems to bump in to one. While he has hit the frame in nine of his fourteen starts to date, seven of those he has finished the bridesmaid and has only managed to win once. While the eight year old may win this, with that concern in mind I would rather look towards one of the others in the lineup.
One of the more interesting runners in this is the Nicky Henderson trained In Fairness, the mount of Nico De Boinville. The six year old is completely unexposed and this will only be his second run over fences. I think his inexperience may cost him here against some battle hardened sorts and he did jump poorly enough on chasing debut.
The one that I like in this contest is Noble Legend who is starting to look on a lenient mark once more. I think this race has been targeted for him as he also lined up in this last season and finished second off an eleven pound higher mark. He should also welcome the return to a right handed track as he jumped markedly to the right at Fakenham. He looks a sound enough each way bet in this contest.
Of the remainder, top weight Silver Roque is not without a chance.
Noble Legend (E/W if 5/1+)