Our racing expert marks your card for Friday's jumps action at Ffos Las.
Whilst there’s more quality about the action at Ascot, nothing is really jumping off the page as a potential bet, whereas several runners at Ffos Las are catching the eye.
JAUNTY FLYER (1.10pm) won a bumper for Brian Eckley by eight lengths in April and has produced a couple of fair runs over hurdles since joining Tim Vaughan, most recently when finishing fourth in a competitive 2m4f novices’ hurdle at Carlisle. That’s hardly earth shattering form, I know, but it entitles him to plenty of respect in this ordinary contest and the step up to 3m is expected to bring about further improvement. Vaughan said as much in a recent Stable Tour and was altogether very positive about the son of Sulamani, who he describes as being ‘very professional in his work’ and expects to ‘win plenty of races’. This looks a good opportunity for starters.
Harry Whittington is in top form as evidenced by three winners from just ten runners in the last fortnight, and his STAR TACKLE (2.15pm) can keep the good run going if putting in a clear round. As a point winner he was always going to be a better chaser than hurdler and he may well have made a winning start at Ayr last month but for unseating his rider at the tenth. He’d been jumping beautifully up to that point and has reportedly done plenty of schooling since, so I’m prepared to give him the benefit and especially as he’s on a good mark of 109, meaning he is getting weight from his six rivals.
Nicky Martin sent out a 22/1 winner from her Dorset base last week and that bodes well for the chances of her SYKES (2.50pm), who is having just his second start for the stable having been switched from Philip Hobbs. A four-time winner for his former trainer, three of which were over hurdles, the gelding caught the eye moving strongly on his stable debut at Worcester last month, when only feeling the pinch after the last and fading into fourth. He can be expected to come on for that run, his first since April, and he’s handicapped to win now racing off the same mark as when last successful.
Dai Rees’ STEEL NATIVE (3.25) was a ready winner over track and trip 12 days ago, when showing his appreciation for soft ground, and a 7lb penalty might not stop him going in again. His form figures prior to that win don’t inspire much confidence in a repeat, admittedly, but the prevailing good ground would not have suited this mudlark and he was perhaps unlucky not to score here in March as he was leading over the last. He clearly likes this track and having enjoyed a nice confidence-booster last time, the six-year-old can kick on and win more staying handicaps.
All odds were correct at time of posting.