Our racing guru likes the look of a couple of runners at Plumpton.
Plumpton takes up its usual Monday afternoon slot and the star attraction is the George Moore-trained Arsenal Mad, who is bidding for a hat-trick in the 2m3f novices’ limited handicap chase (due off 2.30pm).
But he’s just 1/5 to see off a couple of inferior rivals, albeit giving away plenty of weight, and we therefore have to look elsewhere for a bet at a working man’s price.
Look no further than the Dan Skelton-trained ARTHAMINT, who is fancied to carry top weight to victory in the novices’ handicap chase over 3m1f (3.30pm). He has been in fine form over fences, winning at Warwick on his penultimate start and finishing first past the post at Lingfield previously only to be disqualified after his rider David England weighed in light.
England is back on board this afternoon and will need all his jockey skills as his mount has looked a tricky ride on more than one occasion. That said, the eight-year-old is settling better in his races for being dropped in and it will be disappointing if he can’t give weight away to some modest, largely out of form rivals now switched back to the smaller obstacles off what looks a fair mark.
The 2m conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle (4.00pm) won’t take much winning and it could be worth taking a chance on Chris Gordon’s HALLINGHAM stepping up on what he’s shown in four starts over hurdles now he has his sights considerably lowered, and with his stable retuning to form after a quiet spell (3-14 in the last fortnight).
After finishing stone last on his Fontwell debut in October, he fared little better in a class 3 at Aintree won by Saturday’s Betfair Hurdle winner Agrapart and then a Newbury class 4 won by Cheltenham-bound Wait For Me. He at least beat five home on his handicap debut at Warwick in December (another class 4), and his last four starting prices of 50/1, 50/1, 100/1 and 33/1 are indicative of what was expected on each occasion.
But he’s not totally devoid of ability as evidenced by a Sandown success on the level and a couple of seconds at Newbury last summer, albeit on ground far better then he faces this afternoon. That’s a slight worry but this class 5 contest represents his easiest task to date in this sphere and, having been dropped 5lb since his latest effort and with the talented Tom Garner booked, he may well prove good enough.