Our resident tipster fancies a couple of runners this afternoon, one under each code
I’ll be keeping stakes small on a quiet Monday after Grand National weekend, but one that is worth a few quid at decent odds is LANDECKER, who carries top weight in the 2m6f handicap hurdle at Kelso (4.00). Nick Alexander’s seven-year-old arrives here on the back of a pulled-up effort, that coming here 23 days ago, but that was in a much better contest than today’s and his overall record at the track reads an impressive three wins from five runs.
The first of those came last February when he had a nose to spare over Rainbow Peak, who went to run second in a big handicap at Aintree, and he’s confirmed himself a strong stayer in subsequent wins at the track, one over today’s distance. It hasn’t been happening for him in recent starts – form figures of P86P since his last win – but he’s now better handicapped as a result and lines up today on a mark of 119, 11lb lower than his peak rating. Lucy Alexander, who has been on board for all three of his course victories, knows how to get a good tune out of him.
The current favourite is James Ewart’s Lord Wishes and he is undoubtedly well handicapped on his return to hurdles after an unsuccessful spell over fences. However, he has not looked in love with the game this winter and was sulking at the back of the field when unseating his rider at Sedgefield last time. A bigger threat may come from the mare Pixie Cut, who ran second in a handicap at the last meeting here, when appearing to appreciate the better ground, and gets in here with bottom weight.
This afternoon’s two flat meetings at Windsor and Redcar are largely made up of Class 5s or worse and it’s hard to drum up much enthusiasm for a bet. One horse that could reward support, though, is Karl Burke’s HEAVENLY RIVER in the 1m2f fillies’ handicap at Redcar (4.50pm). She caught the eye when running third over slightly further on her reappearance at Doncaster, where she would have snatched second in another retried, and the form was franked when the winner Sheriff Of Nawton finished second off 9lb higher at Newcastle on Saturday.
Having been campaigned over much shorter trips as a three-year-old, she now looks ready to start paying her way over middle distances this season and she should have no trouble picking up a handicap or two off her current low mark of 56. Jordan Vaughan, who is excellent value for his 5lb claim, is back on board today and it’s also worth noting that one of her better efforts last season came in a maiden here last July. The current market has the two three-year-old runners, Naady and Vanishing, disputing favouritism, but neither have looked world-beaters on the all-weather and the latter is making her seasonal appearance.