Our racing expert marks your card for Monday's jumps action at Fontwell.
Jeremy Scott’s BLUE APRIL is 0-14 under Rules but he started life in handicaps off a stiff mark (105) and his latest rating of 83 is surely one he can win off, while this afternoon’s class 5 2m1f handicap won’t take much winning besides. Certainly, if he can run to the same level of form as when finishing second at Exeter in February he’s going to take plenty of beating and his latest fourth at Plumpton would have been needed given he had been off nearly seven months. With his stable in flying form (4-13, 31%, in the last fortnight), he won’t get many better chances than this to break his duck.
Winning pointer DE RASHER COUNTER is a chaser in the making but there is surely a hurdles race or two to be won with him and the 2m3f handicap hurdle on the card looks a good opportunity. He’s certainly not short of speed as he showed when winning a well contested bumper at Clonmel in March and he was unfortunate to bump into a horse of the calibre of Countister on his most recent hurdles start at Doncaster. He had a previous winner, Clondaw Castle, behind in third on that occasion and his trainer Emma Lavelle now having his attentions switched to handicaps off what is a potentially a generous mark (124). Proven on the prevailing heavy ground, he can take advantage.
This is the time of year when Venetia Williams does best and four winners in the last fortnight tells you she has her string in good nick. CLOUDY BEACH is one of her lesser lights but he looks more than capable of adding to her tally when he runs in the 2m3f handicap chase. While he’s recently turned 11, he is relatively lightly-raced for his age and last month’s close second behind Grand Vision at Lingfield was a definite sign that he is ready to strike again. Just 3lb higher than his last winning mark and back at a course where he has won twice (a hurdle and a chase), he looks the one they all have to beat with a pair of first-time cheek-pieces to help him keep his mind on the job.
All odds were correct at time of posting.