Racing Selections: 21/04/16

Well over a week since the last day of posting. I’ve been busy on track (went to Thirsk on Saturday) and with the racing not being too great, I’ve taken a back seat for the past few days. Plenty of flat horses having their first runs of the year, with some bad ground, doesn’t ideally suit. Valhalla last week provided us with a welcome winner and led to a profitable day, although it could have been better, with Fields Of Glory running another career-best, but just running into a well-handicapped one. The other three were disappointing.

Onto today’s selections. Briefer write-ups today.

14:40 Warwick– Vivas: 1pt @ 7/1 William Hill

Charlie Longsdon’s handicap debutante has got in here off a decent mark and should relish the quicker ground. The horse lacks size, and won’t have the scope of some of these going forward, but has fair form in bumpers, has room for improvement in certain aspects of his hurdling career and isn’t off a bad mark today for a handicap debut. Vivas showed his ability to handle quicker ground when 2nd at Fontwell back in October, trying really hard but going down by less than a length. It showed him to have a fair level of ability, a comment you can definitely apply to his two runs over hurdles.

Both of these efforts, over 2m3f on soft ground, suggest there are races to be won. Firstly, his jumping needs a little bit of work, but the switch back to better ground ought to help there and the form of his last run (when 4th) has worked out well. Although there’s been only two winners from 30 starts, the horse in 3rd ran well from a mark of 116 next time up. The one in 5th has gone well off a mark of 119 subsequently and I just feel that today’s opening handicap mark of 110 is lenient. They’ve switched straight to handicaps after just two starts, looks to have a little bit of mileage in terms of the rating and the better ground should help. He’ll go well although there’s a couple in here who potentially have similarly unexposed profiles.

17:30 Exeter – Up To Al: 2pts @ 12/1 Bet365, William Hill

Up To Al has been nowhere in two starts in handicaps since switching from Novice Hurdles but this point winner over 2m4f is surely better than a mark of 90 and the return to better ground alongside another step-up in trip, should see him in a better light. He won a P2P at Hexham last May over 2m4f on ground that looked on the quick side (can’t seem to find a going description anywhere but the pictures of that day made it look like quick ground) and he’s shown glimmers of ability in Novice Hurdles. He travelled noticeably well in a 3m Taunton Novice Hurdle in early December, before being kept wide and given an easy time of things once his chance was gone. That run was on better ground – which was the last time we saw him on ground anything quicker than “soft”. That run marked him out as one to keep an eye on, in my book anyway.

His two starts in handicaps (when sent off single figure prices in both) were poor, but I’m sure that bad ground isn’t his strongest suit and the switch to better ground will be more to his liking. He’s been dropped 10lbs since his opening mark and appeals as being well-handicapped on the basis of some of his Novice Hurdle form. He has more in his favour than in the past two starts, still is fairly unexposed and this trip will probably be more his liking too. There’s not many in here that have proved very much and I’m very hopeful of at least a decent run here today, hence the stake.

18:30 Exeter – Elkstone: 1pt @ 14/1 BetVictor, Ladbrokes

Elkstone was a previous selection where he travelled like a dream and then found absolutely nil. The premise of putting him up again, this time over slightly further on a stiffer track may like borderline stupid, but with a big field, strong pace likely and a further drop in the weights, I’ll give him another chance. These types are particularly difficult to get a handle on, and must be ridiculously frustrating for connections. Elkstone has the ability there to be 10-15lbs better than his current rating of 102, if he could find even a bit off the bridle. Today’s field of 18 runners though, should lead to a strong pace and I can see an ideal situation being, that they go off hard and the leaders fall away in front of him. I’d certainly prefer backing these types in big field contests rather than those over smaller field. Wayne Hutchinson might also get a different tune out of him and although I guess I am kind of clutching at straws here, with lots to suit here in terms of the conditions of the race, I’ll have a go at this double figure price.

Summary of Selections:

14:40 Warwick– Vivas: 1pt @ 7/1 William Hill, Bet365, BetVictor

17:30 Exeter – Up To Al: 2pts @ 12/1 Bet365, William Hill, Stan James

18:30 Exeter – Elkstone: 1pt @ 14/1 BetVictor, Ladbrokes

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Racing Selections: 12/04/16

Selections for Tuesday’s racing at Exeter can be found below. Aintree on Friday was disappointing – albeit it was always going to be a uphill struggle to have a winner when both selections were 25/1+ ! Box Office travelled well but didn’t find much for pressure and is obviously frustrating. Pass The Hat never stood a chance when hampered at Bechers, not standing any chance afterwards. He did well to finish the race although I don’t think he enjoyed the test too much itself. He may be of interest at some stage in the future.

I’m sticking with select NH meetings for now, probably Exeter today and Cheltenham this week before moving on to the flat. I’m still looking for potential bets on both codes, so I still think they’ll be some crossover for a bit longer.

14:25 Exeter – Valhalla: 2pts @ 9/2 Bet365, SkyBet, William Hill

Valhalla was sold for £60,000 last November and although he hasn’t got close to making back that price-tag over rules in three starts for the Colin Tizzard team, there was an awful lot to like about his last effort and returned to a more suitable trip, from a workable mark for an in-form yard, I’m really hopeful of a strong showing today. The main reason for the £60,000 sale was an “impressive” victory in a Rathcannon P2P in Ireland. That was on better ground and it may be a reason as to why his first two starts under rules in the UK weren’t too handy. His Ascot debut and Wincanton effort were littered with small mistakes and not both suggested he wasn’t finishing off his races, which would be a worry if demonstrating that trait here today. Thankfully though, his effort last time at Kempton was eye-catching. He jumped and travelled well, staying on strongly under considerate handling late on (rider switched hands, put his whip away only to use it again and wasn’t given a hard time when it was clear he wasn’t going to win). That was over two miles and some might even be worried about the exuberance in which he travelled early, now running over this distance. I’m not too concerned though, given that he settled down much better later on, and he’s obviously still learning his craft. Finishing off the race so strongly was the first time he’s done that under rules, a good sign.

Upped to almost three miles today, it is a big step up in distance, as well as being the first run in a handicap. A mark of 122 ought to be workable given the promise he showed on paper when an impressive point to point winner, has the pedigree for this distance and impressed with his professionalism and jumping towards the end of the race, actually staying on strongly when in the past, he’d weakened out of things. Richard Johnson is a strong booking and the drying ground is likely to be a positive. I do believe this one should be a fair bit shorter, although I’ll admit the likes of A Plein Temps and Wild West Wind have appealing enough profiles.

15:00 Exeter – Copper Birch: 1pt @ 6/1 Bet365, Totesport, BetVictor

A chance is taken on Copper Birch as although his chase record is just a paltry 1-16, he hasn’t been in horrific form this season and at least has excuses for the races in which he didn’t perform. If his confidence hasn’t been knocked by an early unseat last time, then he’s every chance off a fair mark. The selection was third in the 2015 renewal, importantly off a 13lb higher mark and obviously comes into this race well-handicapped. As of many in this heat, he’s inconsistent and doesn’t always show his best, hence why his mark has fallen so far in a season or so. If replicating his third at Chepstow two starts back though, he’d probably be very close to winning this and his run at Haydock, although 7th earlier in the season, wasn’t that bad in the context of this race given it came in a much stronger heat.

Copper Birch’s weakest effort this campaign came at Ffos Las in February, but that came off a break and it’s possible that his season has been based around having another crack at this race. A chance has to be taken after such an early departure last time, but he’s well-handicapped, does handle this test and Evan Williams’ 4/12 record here in the past year, and 19.05% strike-rate over the past five years, adds extra enthusiasm. The ground drying up a lot brings up question marks but his win at Taunton in January 2015, although officially coming on “soft”, some form publications have it as “dead” ground, rather than a really testing soft. It may not make much difference and I’ll give him a go at this price in a trappy heat.

15:35 Exeter – Jester Jet: 1pt @ 10/1 Ladbrokes, 9/1 Bet365, BetVictor

With just four starts to her name, Jester Jet is the unexposed one here and she caught the eye somewhat last time, when travelling strongest of all for a long way before fading out of things around 2 out. She was entitled to come on for that and is well-handicapped on her effort at Uttoxeter in Maiden company back in December. She ought to come on significantly for her last start, won’t be hindered by the step-back in trip and can go well. Four starts and barely sighted on her first two. She took a significant step forward when 2nd behind Tara Flow – who was heavily eased late on, at Uttoxeter. Although suited by not getting into a battle with the facile winner early on, she ran well against the horse placed 3rd, Deja Bougg, who she was running at level weights against. That one went on next time to be placed in two handicaps off a mark of around 110, so instantly, the eye is drawn to Jester Jet’s current rating of just 96.

It might be folly to take that run at face value, as she may have been flattered by her vicinity to the winner and the horse in 3rd, but there was enough to like about her handicap debut last time out. Running over 2m3f, she travelled best of any of them turning for home but weakened out of things. She hadn’t been seen for 3 months before that and you have to give her the benefit of the doubt that she’d come on for this run. I quite like her chances here, even though there’s a couple in here which are potentially as well-handicapped as she is. Jester Jet has an unexposed profile, should relish the drop back in trip and might also be better on better ground, as the way in which she goes about her racing might be better suited to a quicker surface. On the basis of her last run outside of handicap company, 96 is an exploitable rating and she’s worthy of support.

16:10 Exeter – Fields Of Glory: 1pt @ 5/1 Bet365, BetVictor

The current favourite in Miss Estrela is a big danger on her bumper form but she’s proven frustrating over timber and is readily passed off. Two last time out winners are the most interesting here at the prices and Fields Of Glory landed the gamble last time, and can continue his improvement here today. Tim Vaughan’s charge has had a quite time of things in hurdles races until last time out, when, with the booking of Richard Johnson an obvious indication to his chances, he showed a good deal of resilience to win. That was over this trip on soft ground, but Fields Of Glory has form on faster surfaces, and I don’t feel he needs testing ground to show his best. What he does need to do so is to be sat prominently. All his best form has come when doing so and it is probably no coincidence that he hasn’t shown his best when “held-up” early on. This is a competitive heat and there isn’t much between Fields of Glory and Justatenner, but the market has gone against the selection and I don’t really see too much in the way of rationale behind that.

16:45 Exeter – Pure Vision: 1pt @ 11/4 Bet365, Stan James, Totesport

Star Trouper made a perfectly reasonable start over hurdles and potentially is quite rightly favourite. However, Pure Vision was the best of these in Bumpers and has been found a relatively weak heat to be have his first run over hurdles and is a value alternative to the favourite. Pure Vision finished 4th in the Spring Sales Bumper at Newbury in the early part of March, although green early on, making the runner probably didn’t suit and being beaten less than 8 lengths in one of the better NHF races outside of the obvious Festivals was no mean feat. That’s the best form on show today, and although he remains a maiden after two second placed finishes earlier in his career, I’m happy to back him at these prices as an alternative to the favourite. Star Trouper has the benefit of hurdling experience, with a runner-up spot at Taunton a decent start to his hurdling career. That was a weak enough heat in behind though, with although the 3rd winning next time up, the remainder have had 30 goes since and not won. It’s only potentially average form. Lots of guesswork with the plans for Pure Vision here but Barry Geraghty only comes here for two rides late on here, it’s not a great race and I think this one should be closer to favouritism.

Summary of Bets

14:25 Exeter – Valhalla: 2pts @ 9/2 Bet365, SkyBet, William Hill

15:00 Exeter – Copper Birch: 1pt @ 6/1 Bet365, Totesport, BetVictor

15:35 Exeter – Jester Jet: 1pt @ 10/1 Ladbrokes, 9/1 Bet365, BetVictor

16:10 Exeter – Fields Of Glory: 1pt @ 5/1 Bet365, BetVictor

16:45 Exeter – Pure Vision: 1pt @ 11/4 Bet365, Stan James, Totesport

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Prices correct as of 12:20pm

 

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Racing Selections: 08/04/16

Firstly, apologies for the lack of updates – I’ve been away this week with work and didn’t have time to update the blog. I will post up in the next few days the results of the blog since I restarted. I believe we’re currently break-even, although the two selections today will either chip away at that break-even or increase the profit massively. Anyway, apologies again for the lack of communication.

Fear Glic was the last selection wasn’t good enough – but I have some hope he might come good in a weaker race on better ground. One added to the tracker, anyway.

Selections for Aintree below.

13:40 Aintree – Box Office: 1pt @ 33/1 William Hill, Stan James, Ladbrokes

I’ve had my eye on Box Office for this Aintree race since the early part of this year and his Cheltenham run in the Pertemps wasn’t devoid of promise, as I don’t think he got home over that 3 mile trip. This distance is more suitable and Aintree suits him, given he ran well in 2015 in the Conditionals race at this meeting over shorter. Box Office is yet to win in the UK but has shown promise countless times, a big mover in the 2015 Fred Winter market, a solid go in the aforementioned Aintree run off around this mark and more recently, a career best arguably in a Cheltenham qualifier at Sandown. That was in early December 2015 and he should have got closer that day too, given the trouble he met in-running. Looked that day as if he should be winning soon off a rating of around 133 and although he was pulled up next time, and beaten 17 lengths at the Festival, I think he’ll go better today.

This is arguably Box Office’s best distance given the Sandown efort, he’s been dropped 2lbs in the weights since Cheltenham and was given too much to do last time anyway. Travelling noticeably well for the most part and made ground easily before fading. I got the impression he has been targeted at this race for some time and although there hasn’t been much optimism with jockey bookings and the like here, I think there’s plenty in his favour and is the type to possibly make a mockery of a mark when conditions suit. A strong pace may suit his strong travelling style and I’ve every hope he’ll finish much closer to the principles today than he did at Cheltenham.

16:05 Aintree – Pass The Hat: 1pt @ 25/1 Bet365, William Hill, Coral

Pass The Hat has no experience of the National Course here at Aintree but that hasn’t been a bad thing in recent years and he caught my eye big-time when I backed him at Doncaster in the ultra-competitive SkyBet Chase two months ago. He jumped and travelled well but simply didn’t get home over the three miles. Dropped back in trip now, he still looks on an appealing enough mark and is overpriced today. He has been mixing Hurdles with Chasing recently and hasn’t had too much luck to be honest. He was brought down early when having a fair chance on paper in the Munster National and has had some fair efforts off lower marks over hurdles. Chasing is his game though and given the handicapper has been quick to drop him 2lbs for what was a good effort in the circumstances at Doncaster last time, then I think he’s an attractive price here now. The stable form is a concern but he’s obviously been targeted at this race instead of Cheltenham, and this strongly run, 2m5f trip will suit. His jumping should stand up to this test, comments you can’t associate with some of these. Hopeful here, more than confident but think he ought to go well.

Summary

13:40 Aintree – Box Office: 1pt @ 33/1 William Hill, Stan James, Ladbrokes

16:05 Aintree – Pass The Hat: 1pt @ 25/1 Bet365, William Hill, Coral

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Racing Selections: 31/03/16

Just the one selection for today. Monday was the last day of posting and it was extremely disappointing. Both selections finished closer to last than first. Extreme Supreme put in a tepid effort which considering recent, solid form, was disappointing. Burneston was always a bit of a flier but travelled with no fluency after being well-backed. He might spring up one day.

Onto today – where there’s one selection at a double figure price. There are doubts about the ground but I’ll take my chances.

15:45 Bangor: Fear Glic – 1pt @ 10/1 William Hill, Paddy Power, Betfair SB

Fear Glic has been well supported this morning but I think there’s still some value left in the double figures available, and although he has had an interrupted career of late, there was plenty to like about his chase debut under rules, and in an open enough heat with no real strong contender, he can go well. The 10 year old missed the entire of 2015 after last racing in April, and faced some decent rivals in a warm Beginners Chase on heavy ground at Exeter. The likes of Actival and Oscar Sunset he faced are much higher rated rivals in terms of hurdling ratings. Fear Glic was put in his place in terms of the form-book, beaten 45 lengths. This could be further used as “proof” that he doesn’t handle bad ground, alongside the fact that he has plenty to prove in terms of his well-being.

I do believe though, that pitched back into handicap company today, he ought to go much better and is still realistically handicapped off a rating of 123. Firstly, he ran much better than the bare form suggests last time, still close to the principals around 2 out before fading, understandably so. He travelled nicely, jumped well enough and probably wasn’t suited by the fact he wasn’t sent into the lead. For a chasing debut, especially after such a significant time off, it was encouraging. As all of Fear Glic’s wins have come on better ground, there’s an argument that soft going today won’t suit at all. This might be so, but he does have some form on soft/heavy in Ireland, and, the way he travelled and jumped last time on even worse ground than he will encounter today, suggests that he does handle this sort of surface. A handicap rating of 123 is workable given the form he showed over hurdles when winning at Chepstow back in April 2014. That win came off this equivalent hurdles rating. No real front-runners (bar Fear Glic) may mean a lead is possible this time and I think he’ll outrun this price today.

Summary

15:45 Bangor: Fear Glic – 1pt @ 10/1 William Hill, Paddy Power

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Racing Selections: 29/03/16

Saturday was the last day of posting (Bank Holiday racing isn’t my sort of thing) and it was a losing day – with one selection in Hollow Blue Sky being well-backed from the advised 16/1 into an SP of 9/1. However, he never travelled with much fluency, and although jumping okay, didn’t stay this tough test due to the wind anyway. He’s not one I’ll be following too closely. -1pt for the day.

Onto Tuesday, where I’ve a couple from Wolverhampton. One solid and will almost certainly run its race, the other more risky.

15:15 Wolverhampton – Extreme Supreme: 1pt @ 6/1 BetVictor, Paddy Power

Extreme Supreme disappointed two weeks ago when sent off favourite at Southwell, but was in good form prior to that and has come down slightly in the weights. He’s not badly handicapped and the main reason why I like his chances today is that the race will be set up perfectly, is drawn well and is too big a price. Recent form figures of 333 suggest he’s about handicapped right, but he ran a cracker when last running here back in February, beaten less than a length and he was caught wider than ideal that day, too.

A strong pace today is likely given Quantum Dot, Blue Bounty and Harpers Ruby like to get on with it, a strong pace that will play to Extreme Supreme’s strengths. Although last time was a bit disappointing, I don’t think he’s that out of form, this isn’t the strongest of races and it should be run to suit, from a good draw. I’m hopeful of a solid run here and he should be a couple of points shorter, which is probably why I’d take 6/1 or 11/2 about this one.

17:00 Wolverhampton – Burneston: 1pt @ 12/1 Paddy Power, Stan James, William Hill

Burneston is a complete flier here as he hasn’t been seen for 238 days, has been gelded and was beaten miles on handicap debut, which was followed up by a weak effort in a Ripon maiden. Upped in trip and on Tapeta debut, I’m not making a good case here but I’ve hope that we’ll see better of Burneston this year and he might be best caught fresh. In a weak race, I’ll take a chance at double figure odds.

The selection went into many notebooks on seasonal reappearance at Pontefract last year, where he looked to have a decent future at this sort of level, looking to have every chance before fading 1f out. There was some fair horses in that race that day, with the lowest rated out of the five who finished within 8 lengths of the winner, now rated in the high 70’s and the runner-up getting some black type at the end of the season. Burneston never built on that run though unlike the others in that race, with defeats of 16, 76 and almost 18 lengths subsequently. I can’t really offer much in the way of excuses for those, either.

Now gelded and another winter on his back, that could improve things and Burneston shaped in the aforementioned Pontefract run as if staying trips could suit. He has the pedigree, being a half-sibling to a 2m winner on the all-weather and given that connections have found a weak enough race to start off with, it may suggest that he’s ready to go off a break. It might also be a pointer that the selection’s best run came on seasonal reappearance and although he might be a tough one to train, I’ve hope that we’ll see better of him this season. Not much pace on here really either,so I don’t think it will be an extreme test at the trip and I think he could prove to be well-handicapped off a mark of 65 this season. It might be folly to have so much faith in one start, but he’s so well-handicapped on the basis of that run, alongside the fact he did look physically that he’ll improve as he gets older. At these prices, I’ll take a chance.

Summary

15:15 Wolverhampton – Extreme Supreme: 1pt @ 6/1 BetVictor, Paddy Power

17:00 Wolverhampton – Burneston: 1pt @ 12/1 Paddy Power, Stan James, William Hill

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Racing Selections: 26/03/16

A winning day to report on with the last day of posting, which was Wednesday. It could have been two winners out of two, too. Epic Warrior was the first and was weak in the market all day really, drifting out to 19.0 on Betfair at one stage (advised at 10/1). There was strong late support, turning out to be justified given he ran out a nice winner. He was sat prominent as I hoped and jumped well for the most part, travelling strongly in the blinkers. He made a complete hash of the last fence but by that stage there was only one other in with a chance and he got away with it, Epic Warrior running out a 1.75 length winner. He’s not one I’ll be following too closely.

The one who got away was Birch Hill who traded 1.23 and was cruelly passed in the final 30 yards. He jumped and travelled well for the most part, but was under pressure slightly sooner than some of the others, he fought them off one by one though and looked to have got the better of the favourite coming over the last. That one stuck at it though and just got his head in front. It was a very encouraging effort from Birch Hill – and he may remain of interest going that way round over slightly further. He may also have a decent future over fences.

There wasn’t anything on Thursday (poor racing) and I was too far behind on the AW Champs scene to tip up anything of interest for Friday. The card at Wolverhampton on Friday is one worth watching at some stage though.

Saturday’s selections are posted below.

15:10 Haydock – Hollow Blue Sky: 1pt @ 16/1 Boylesports, BetVictor, Betfair SB

Hollow Blue Sky is inconsistent and probably more likely to pull up than win, but that isn’t too bad a statistic given his double figure price and I’m hopeful of a big run here, returned to what is probably his favourite track and still on a fair mark. This season has been a bit of a write-off given he hasn’t got within 19 lengths of the winner on three out of four starts this season. The exception being a good effort at Doncaster on this sort of ground, when 9 lengths behind Gonalston Cloud in order to qualify for this race. He’ll obviously need to improve on that to win here, but I’ve hope that he will.

Firstly, Haydock is a track which he nearly always runs well at, with form figures of 315 at this venue. The “5” was on seasonal reappearance last December and to be fair, he didn’t run that badly, shaping strongly that the run was required off a 7lb higher mark and not having run since June. The win came at this meeting last year over a slightly shorter trip, but given he arrived then in poor form also, it does provide hope that he can return to his best today. Although he’s not won at this distance, I’m not concerned about his stamina as he seemed to stay on well enough at Doncaster that time and all his winning form at 2m6f suggests he’ll get an extra 2f  anyway. Jamie Bargary is one of the best 5lb claimers around, too.

To summarise, Hollow Blue Sky is an inconsistent performer who can jump poorly, but has found himself on a good mark after a generally weak season, returns to his favourite venue over ground he handles and is a capable performer in this big-field, strongly run handicaps when things fall right. Competitive heat but hopeful of a nice effort.He also won’t be inconvenienced by any rain.

Summary

15:10 Haydock – Hollow Blue Sky: 1pt @ 16/1 Boylesports, BetVictor, Betfair SB

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Racing Selections: 23/03/16

One bet on Monday was a loser. Elkridge did his usual trick, travelled beautifully but then found nothing (traded 2.1). He isn’t one to follow up on and looks to potentially be a tough one to place.

Selections for today are posted below.

15:15 Warwick: Epic Warrior – 1pt @ 10/1 Bet365, StanJames, Ladbrokes, William Hill

Competitive heat this and another slightly suspect selection in terms of, he isn’t guaranteed to run his race. If he does though, there’s every chance he can win this and Epic Warrior should run much better switched to more positive tactics, a falling handicap mark and better ground here today. The selection hasn’t shown his true colours on occasions, namely last time, when not jumping particularly well and dropping out of things quite tamely (not given a tough time). That being said, he seems to be a horse who relishes being close to the pace, and the hold-up tactics employed last time won’t have been to his preference. It’s also possible that the more severe headgear in Blinkers are needed (seems to hold his head at a funny angle without them). The run at the end of last year at Newbury, when a good third behind Imagine The Chat still sticks in the mind and is now 9lbs lower in the handicap. If he could replicate that, he’d go very close and given they’re likely to employ more forceful tactics given the reapplication of blinkers. He doesn’t need to front-run and there’s one or two who might do that today, but if he’s tracking the leaders and his jumping holds up, then he’ll go awfully close at double figure odds.

17:00 Haydock: Birch Hill – 1pt @ 5/1 SkyBet, BetVictor, Paddy Power

Birch Hill disappointed when towards the front of the market last time out and has allegedly had problems. That being said though, the impression he made in a Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham back in Jan 2015 suggested he has a future at this game and although beaten 26 lengths last time, that wasn’t pleasant ground for a seasonal reappearance and will come on for that. Better ground could suit him, alongside the sharper trip considering he often travels well and doesn’t lack speed and I’m not one for giving up on horses with this sort of potential to make a mockery of their handicap mark, so I’ll give Birch Hill another go. That aforementioned Cheltenham run, when 11 lengths behind Thomas Brown, came in a race where many have gone on to much bigger and better things, such as Zeroshadesofgrey, As De Mee and Different Gravey. On the basis of that form, he’s a certain winner off 122. His subsequent effort at Musselburgh was poor, though, where he hung right and potentially didn’t stay. He hung right again last time out, which is a worry, but he may well have just been getting tired in the ground that day after a year off.

This is a nice enough heat, but, going this way round may well suit Birch Hill, as his three poorest efforts have come going in the other direction. Nicky Henderson was a big fan of the horse back in November. He still looks potentially well-handicapped, and those in the race don’t look outstandingly well treated, albeit their respected given unexposed profiles. Birch Hill has a bit to prove, but if he’s healthy, then he’ll go extremely close.

Summary of Selections (prices at 13:05pm)

15:15 Warwick: Epic Warrior – 1pt @ 10/1 Bet365, StanJames, Ladbrokes, William Hill

17:00 Haydock: Birch Hill – 1pt @ 5/1 SkyBet, BetVictor, Paddy Power

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