Our racing expert marks your card for Monday's jumps action at Plumpton.
Strong market support would suggest that Gary Moore’s Graasten is ready to go after his 331-day layoff and he is the class horse in the 2m4f handicap hurdle. However, he has top weight to show for that and, should he be not fully wound up, he might struggle to give 8lb to NORSE LEGEND. That horse is making his debut for Colin Tizzard here and he needs the change of scenery to have revived him as he was last seen pulling up at Towcester in December. But if that’s the case he is undoubtedly on a very attractive mark of 110, having been as high as 129, and that his last win came over track and trip on heavy ground provides further encouragement for a bet. The booking of Tom Scudamore, who rides this circuit supremely well, clinches it.
Tizzard, who enjoyed a treble at the weekend, is represented elsewhere on the card and his Sartorial Elegance is worth considering in the 3m handicap hurdle as he’s dropped to a good mark and has had wind surgery since he was last seen out in December. However, it’s quite a competitive contest and I prefer the chances of Kevin Bishop’s SOMERSET JEM, who was a clear second behind a classy rival at Taunton nine days ago and is running off the same mark here. With Conor Smith also claiming 5lb off his back, he is getting a handy 10lb from the forecast favourite Cheque En Blanc, who is chasing a hat-trick after a couple of wins in lower grade handicaps.
Tizzard has a couple running for him in the closing 2m handicap hurdle for conditional jockeys and his THIRD ACT, who is much preferred over his disappointing stablemate Kalarika, is taken to score under promising conditional Alexander Thorne, whose claim could prove invaluable on his first ride for the stable. His mount here has a bit to prove on his most recent efforts, but he is reverting to hurdling on a dangerous mark of 110, which is 10lb lower than his last winning one in this sphere. With the stable banging out the winners – a treble at the weekend made it 7-28 (25%) in the last fortnight – it’s not hard to see him giving weight and a beating to today’s inferior rivals. Of these, Drewmain Legend has gone up 4lb for finishing second in a moderate Taunton contest last time, but she could still give the selection most to do.
Anthony Honeyball’s LE COUER NET is bidding to follow up his recent course and distance success in the 2m2f novices’ handicap chase and it will be disappointing if he fails in that task against four rivals who are very hard to enthuse about. He had one of them, Sir Hubert, well beaten off in third when scoring in a similar race last time and having been given a patient ride by Noel Fehily, he didn’t have to be asked for maximum effort to assert close home. He’s gone up 8lb for that but as he was starting out from a lowly mark he still looks well treated and could well run up a little sequence – his trainer has him entered in four races on Thursday, so don’t be surprised to see him turned out again quickly under a penalty should he oblige here as expected.
All odds were correct at time of posting.