After drawing a blank with national hunt meetings all week due to the weather, it’s great to have it finally back. We start off our article today with a decent looking class two handicap hurdle run over two miles four furlongs and 110yds.
Three of the four at the head of the market in this contest return from substantial enough breaks and race fitness could be the key here. Heading the betting is the Jonjo O Neill trained Forthefunofit who returns here from a break of 110 days and looks on a fairly lenient mark. The 6yo ran with credit in a competitive handicap at Cheltenham when last seen and will look to build on that here. If the gelding has any aspirations of running in one of the handicaps at the Cheltenham festival, he will need to win this to get the necessary rise. While he looks the one to beat, there is plenty of each way value to be had and that is where I would rather play here.
Another horse returning from a lengthy break is Nathans Pride who arrives here seeking a four timer. The seven year old who has to concede weight all round has entries in the Supreme and the Neptune at the Cheltenham festival. While seven pounds is being claimed off his back here, I am always wary of marks achieved over the summer months as I think it is easier to achieve a higher mark. The ground would be more of a concern than anything as all six wins have been achieved on good or better. With that in mind he is another I would be prepared to overlook here.
The one that appeals most to me in this contest is the Venetia Willams trained Dubawi Island who attempts a new trip for the first time today. While three of his wins have come over four furlongs shorter, this trip should pose no problems on breeding. This will be his third run of the season and that major fitness advantage over his rivals could prove crucial here. Also if any thoughts of running in one of the handicaps at Cheltenham is on the cards, he will need to get a win under his belt to make that possible.
Of the remainder, One For Harry and the elder statesman of the field Midnight Appeal should be capable of being involved.
Dubawi Island (E/W)
For my second selection today we stay at Huntingdon for a handicap chase run over two miles four furlongs and 110yds.
This looks a wide open race where we have Trojan Sun heading the betting here, who comes here on the back of a fall. Personally I am not a huge fan of backing horses who have fallen on their previous start, but that’s not to say he can’t win here. The nine year old has a good record at this venue with two wins and a narrowly beaten third from five visits here. While he has not a great deal in hand on the handicapper, the gelding has won off a two pounds higher mark in the past. He is probably the rightly favourite here but I would rather look for a bit of each way value.
My selection in this contest is more a tentative vote rather than a confident one and that is the Paul Henderson trained Carhue. While his recent form figures are uninspiring, if you go back two years to his hurdles win he gave Security Breach six pounds and a length and a quarter beating and that horse is a 130+ horse now. To back that up he also had a solid point to point win at Lismore that would suggest a mark in the mid 120’s is well within his scope. This is the type of horse which connections have done well with before as I stand to be corrected but I think some of these were also involved in Life of a Luso. The horse might have lost all ability but if he hasn’t he could run a decent race and is certainly handicapped well enough on some of his form.
Of the remainder Ultimatum Du Roy looks feasibly treated but he has proved a hard horse to win with in the past.
We stay at Huntingdon for my last selection today which comes in a bumper for mares run over two miles and 110yds.
At the head of the market is the Lucy Wadham trained Ruby Rambler who comes here on the back of a decent third placed finish at Ludlow. If able to build on that run she should be capable of going close but offers little in the way of value, give that there are plenty of unexposed potentially smart types in this contest.
The one that I like in this at an each way price is the Emma Lavelle trained Mrsrobin who sports a hood here for the first time. While that is a small bit of a concern that they reach for that aid so quickly, this £41K purchase boasts a smart second in a point to point that saw her command such a fee. Winning the point that day was a smart sort, now in the care of Paul Nicholls who has won two bumpers since including a win in a Listed bumper at this venue. While she is bred to get much farther in time, I am hoping she can be as equally effective over this shorter trip. If she is she should at worst run in to a place and might be capable of winning this.
This is so open a chance can be given to quite a few but like with most bumpers, any significant money is worth following.
MrsRobin (E/W if 5/1+)