Plumpton on a cold and dank Monday is our resident tipster's idea of punting heaven.
Mondays in the depths of winter would be even duller but for a Plumpton meeting on Attheraces and I’ve fared pretty well when it comes to backing winners there. I managed to land a four-timer a few weeks back and a treble this afternoon would do nicely – I’m not greedy!
The first leg being the Noel Williams-trained AUTHORIZED TOO in the opening 2m novices’ hurdle (due off 12.10pm). An 80-rated horse when trained on the flat by William Haggas, who saddled him to one success at Yarmouth in August 2014, he made an eye-catching strategy to his hurdles career when making chasing home the well-backed McKenzie’s Friend at a meeting here in November. The winner is decent and will most likely follow-up later on this afternoon (1.20pm), while the selection, whose jumping was remarkably accurate for an ex-flat horse, surely has further improvement in him in this sphere.
He’s up against a Paul Nicholls-trained runner in Lac Leman, who is forecast to go off favourite and I’m not sure why. He was turned over at odds-on on his British debut back in January, pulling far too hard for his own good, and he didn’t fare much better on his reappearance at Huntingdon earlier this month when wearing a first-time hood. Nicholls may well find the key to him at some stage but he’s hard to trust right now and he conveniently helps to make the market for the selection. I’d be more worried about Theo’s Charm who finished seventh in last season’s Champion Bumper and ran third on his hurdles debut at Kempton last month, though he’s likely to need further to be seen to best effect.
There’s a similar scenario in the novices chase (12.45pm) with the Stuart Edmonds-trained CLONACOOL taken to beat a couple of better fancied rivals from bigger yards. Indeed, Anthony Honeyball’s Regal Encore has been priced up a full point shorter and I simply can’t have him on his chase efforts so far – he was well beaten on his first two starts and fell at Ascot last time. He’s also likely to find two miles round here in the sharp side with his last hurdles win coming over 2m7f at Exeter. I’ve got far more respect for Venetia Williams’ Zamdy Man who was the best of these over hurdles but has had his problems and has not been seen out for over a year.
Fitness won’t be an issue for the selection as he’s had three runs over hurdles this term, winning on the first of those (and for the fourth time overall) at Market Rasen in September, and is now on a mark of 136 in that sphere. He disappointed at Ascot last time but has schooled well over fences at home according to his trainer, who singled him out in a Stable Tour as potentially a “smart two-mile novice.” He’ll need to be to make a winning start to his chase career against today’s rivals, but he should be a value price and I rate his jockey Joshua Moore, who has a healthy 18% strike rate at the track.
The final leg of the treble and today’s nap is provided by the Alexandra Dunn-trained BLACK NARCISSUS, who is bidding to go two better than last time in the 2m3f handicap chase (due off 2.55pm). A son of Westerner – a sire I very much like who tends to produce smart staying chasers – he ran a belter on his chase debut at Lingfield last month, where he led until the last and only lost second close home. He’s sure to come for that run, his first since March, and his trainer, who places her horses well, is in good form. The baby in the race at six, he’s up against some largely exposed rivals here and looks well up to beating them.
A treble on all three selections pays just over 66/1 with bet365, though they are all worth backing in singles and doubles too.