Our resident tipster is sticking with the jumps and is eyeing up a juicy treble at Ayr.
I’m firmly in jumps mode now and therefore eschewing today’s flat cards at Leicester and Redcar for the sole jumping action at Ayr.
There are some short-priced favourites contesting the seven-race card and three in particular look ripe for a treble, starting with the Nicky Richard-trained IMADA, who should prove far too good for his seven rivals in the 2m “national hunt” novices’ hurdle (due off 1.40pm).
The five-year-old won a bumper here on his debut last November and the form has been well and truly franked since: the runner-up has won four times and the third won a Grade 2 as well as three other races. He was then beaten on his only subsequent run at Kelso in March but his trainer, who described him as “pure class” in a recent Stable Tour, put that down to inexperience and is expecting him to go on to much better things this season.
Lucinda Russell has her string in fine form and, hot off a treble at Kelso on Saturday, she can land the 2m4f novices’ handicap chase (3.55pm) with JACK STEEL. An Irish point winner, he has shown progressive form over hurdles and ran a career best on his reappearance over two miles at Perth in September, when finding only the highly regarded Jet Master a length and a half too good.
On that showing he’d definitely win a race over hurdles, but he has the scope to make a better chaser and it seems significant that Russell is pitching him straight into handicap company on his debut, rather than start off in a beginners’ chase. Today’s longer trip is another positive given how well he has been finishing over shorter and the booking of Richard Johnson (only his second ride for the stable) is the icing on the cake.
The final leg of the treble is provided by the Martin Todhunter-trained MONBEG RIVER, who is a strong fancy to beat seven rivals in the 2m handicap chase (3.20pm). The six-year-old was making his chase debut when winning easily at Perth in September, jumping well in the process, and while that wasn’t a particularly strong race he has the scope to keep on improving if kept to this sort of level.
The main threat may come from fellow six-year-old Throthehatch, even though he’s been raised 8lb for winning what was a weak contest when last see out at Perth in May. Harry’s Whim had Ballycool back in third when scoring at Hexham last time, but he’s hardly progressive given that was only his second win in 20 starts, and he has a 5lb rise to cope with to boot.
If you’re feeling a little greedy, you might be tempted to also throw in the Gordon Elliott-trained FAGAN, who is bet365’s 11/10 favourite for the closing bumper (4.25pm). A prolific winning pointer, he was very impressive when winning one of these at Perth last month and looks classy enough to defy a penalty here. The presence of last-time-out winner Meet The Legend means we can back him at odds against.
The far from unrealistic treble on Imada, Monbeg River and Jack Steel pays nearly 22/1 with bet365. Include Fagan in a four-timer and you’re looking at £476.44 for a £10 stake with the same firm.