Our racing expert marks your card for Friday's jumps action at Warwick.
There is plenty of solid recent form on offer in the 3m handicap chase for mares and Sparkling River, who was making it 2-4 over fences when gamely getting up over slightly shorter at Uttoxeter last time, is entitled to go well off top weight now returned to this track, where she is 3-3 (two hurdles and a chase).
However, she might struggle to give 5lb to SOCKSY, who has taken to fences well, winning with plenty in hand on her chase debut at Ayr in October and running a fine race after a break when third at Chepstow last month. A fair hurdler, it’s no surprise she is enjoying her new discipline as she’s a strong mare who is built like a gelding, and today’s better ground at this trip promises to suit the daughter of Flemensfirth even better. The red-hot form of her stable – 5-14 (36%) in the last fortnight – clinches the bet.
Of the rest, Blameitalonmyroots was on a going day when second at Wincanton last time and is no certainty to build on that here. A bigger danger to the selection then may come from Ruby Yeats as she only narrowly failed to reel in a progressive sort after the last on her chase debut last time.
Olly Murphy is another trainer in excellent form with seven of his 25 runners (28%) in the last fortnight ending up in the winners’ enclosure. That increases interest in his KNOCKGRAFFON in the feature 2m4f handicap chase and the eight-year-old looks to have a leading form shout too, having shown his appreciation for the step up to this trip at Musselburgh two starts back (good ground). He wouldn’t have won when falling two out on his next outing at Wetherby (disputing fifth at the time), but he’s reunited with Brian Hughes here and the less testing conditions this afternoon are another thing in his favour.
Of his rivals, Kayf Adventure has shown progressive form over fences this season and won on his only previous visit here, albeit that was a bumper. He may well be the one to give the selection most to do, although it would be no surprise to see Calipto bounce back to his form as he’s very well handicapped these days and his stable has been showing signs of emerging from a quiet spell.
The 3m1f handicap chase is equally competitive and I wouldn’t be rushing to back the current favourite Talk Of The South given his inconsistent profile – form figures of 3P3U3P2 – and overall record of 1-17 under Rules. Surely something will come along to beat him and that horse may be CAPARD KING.
The Jonjo O’Neill-trained nine-year-old has slipped down the weights – runs off 120 today having been as high as 139 – and he almost took advantage when beaten a head and a neck into third at Doncaster last time following a fine round of jumping. He was five lengths up jumping the last on that occasion and, as he wasn’t exactly stopping at the end, he might have become a bit lonely up front, so a slightly more patient ride from Richie McLernon could do the trick here.
All odds were correct at time of posting.