Our racing guru is hopeful this trio of runners can give the weekend betting bank a timely boost.
With heavy rain forecast and the going already heavy at Chepstow, the best chance of some jumps action lies with Catterick.
That’s fortunate as I like a couple of runners at the North Yorkshire track, starting with RUNSWICK RELAX who faces seven rivals in the 3m1f handicap chase (due off 2.25pm). The ten-year-old has been in good form all season and took advantage of a slipping handicap mark when winning over 2m3f here on his penultimate start. He then found only Solway Bay too good when trying to follow up at Musselburgh last time but was perhaps unfortunate not to score as his claiming rider went for home a long way out, only to get mugged near the line.
A little more restraint this afternoon is what’s needed, though he’s not short of stamina having won over this trip at Carlisle previously, and he remains very well handicapped on a mark of 81, given his peak chase rating of 103. In the form of his life and with conditions to suit, he must take all the beating getting weight from all his rivals.
Staying at Catterick and another horse at the peak of her powers, the James Eustace-trained IRON BUTTERFLY, who is attempting a hat-trick in the 3m1f handicap hurdle (2.55pm). The seven-year-old hinted at a return to form when finishing second at Fakenham in October and she is unbeaten since, with both wins coming at Doncaster where she is 3-3. The latest of those was arguably her most impressive and the handicapper may have let her off lightly by only raising her 5lb.
Connections have hinted at an imminent retirement so she can stand as a broodmare, so the fact she has been kept in training suggests they think she is still well handicapped enough to go in again. They have again booked Jack Quinlan and the young rider clearly knows how to get the best out of her, having been on board for all three of her runs this season. The partnership can shrug off top weight to complete the hat-trick.
On the all-weather now at Lingfield and there’s a bet in the opening 1m fillies’ handicap (2.00pm), with Tom Dascombe’s COLOURFILLY likely to come on considerably for her stable debut fourth over 1m2f here 27 days ago. Disappointing on her previous start back in August, this latest effort was more on a par with her best efforts over 7f when trained by Ed Walker and there may well be better to come after just six starts. Bred to be effective at distances up to a mile, she ought to appreciate today’s shorter trip and shouldn’t lack for fitness either.