TV TIPS (FRIDAY)
A very tricky handicap to get the televised races underway with many having claims in this class three contest.
The first horse that jumps out is Starluck. A course and distance winner, the horse is partnered with the excellent Nico De Boinville and has won at Cheltenham with only an extra three pounds on it’s back. The scheduled good ground should help it’s chances and I expect the horse to go close.
The only danger in the rest of the field comes from the combination of Henderson and Geraghty who run Lough Kent. Most of the horses better runs have come on softer ground and in chases. The horse gives four pounds away to Starluck and has the assistance of a fantastic jockey and one who simply loves this course. It could be an intriguing contest to get the day started.
Lough Kent (WIN)
Another tight handicap contest but once again two jump out at me.
Hadrians Approach won going away last time out at Sandown and with the help of Barry Geraghty the horse will have a chance again. My only concern is the weight the horse has to carry as it races off it’s highest mark. That said however the competition isn’t so fierce and chances are he will run his race.
The one of even greater interest is Lamb Or Cod, the form is in the bag despite being pulled up at this course three weeks ago. The horse has won around here before and with the Johnson and Hobbs combination in irresistible form (ludicrous ban aside) I would suggest it would have a very good chance on the chestnut geldings favoured good ground.
Hadrians Approach (WIN)
Lamb Or Cod (E/W)
The Cross Country race is without renowned hero Balthazar King who was an excellent winner at the last meeting here. This leaves the door open for Uncle Junior who ran another cracker at the course last time out. The thirteen year old is naturally getting on in years but the great amateur Paddy Mullins will once again get the leg up and hope that the three times the horse has finished second to the Hobbs horse will be forgotten.
The main danger in the field will be Big Shu who has beaten the first selection a couple of times in the past. Paul Carberry comes over to take the ride and is an excellent judge of pace and fractions and despite carrying top weight has a huge chance.
Big Shu (WIN)
Uncle Junior (E/W)
Two selections to finish the televised action from jumps HQ with two that look value.
Rebecca Curtis’s horse is sure to go off favourite yet I’m not sure I’d be backing it with it’s recent hit of weight from the handicapper.
Ulzanas Raid is in great form and won at this course and distance back in October. The horse carries two pounds less than that day and has form beating some good horses including the impressive Champagne West.
Syabrite could be the other value in the race with Sam Twiston-Davies continuing the partnership with his father after winning last time out at Cheltenham and on the same ground. It’s main obstacle is carrying a stone heavier than it’s last win however the horse has won off four pounds higher and the in-form Ditcheat retainer could get this one home.
Ulzanas Raid (E/W)
by Dave Smith