Fresh from giving St Leger winner Harbour Law (at 33/1), our racing expert turns his attention to Monday's action.
It’s the jumpers at Worcester that provide today’s best bets, albeit to small stakes – I’m in no rush to give Saturday’s winnings back!
The betting for division one of the 2m7f handicap chase is dominated by Dawnieriver, the only last-time-out winner in the field, and Caspian Piper, who wasn’t beaten far into second at Market Rasen last month. However, the former is 6lb higher in the weights and is not the most consistent of horses, while the last-named has harshly been raised 7lb since.
They are opposable and former prolific point winner FLYING GNU rates a value alternative, albeit to small stakes. The ten-year-old has had just four runs under Rules and did best when finishing second in a hunters’ chase at Fontwell in May. Her latest third on her handicap debut at Stratford last month was another creditable effort and suggests she can pick up a small race off her current mark. In receipt of plenty of weight from the pair at the head of the market and with talented 5lb claimer Jamie Bargary taking over from a less experienced rider, it may well be today.
Mad Money could be another favourite to take on in the second division of the 2m7f handicap chase. He’s won a couple of points and wasn’t beaten far into third on just his second start under Rules over track and trip last month, when nearly snatching second close home. However, that was a very moderate contest and while he appeared to finish well, he didn’t give the impression he was about to score.
Today’s contest is more competitive and he’s up against a well-handicapped sort from the in-form Emma Lavelle stable in WATER WAGTAIL. It’s been over two years since he last crossed the line in front, but he’s been lightly-raced since, missing over a year until reappearing here in June, and his handicap mark has gone southwards as a result – he’s running off 96 this afternoon having won off 5lb higher and hit a ceiling of 110.
It’s just a question whether he retains the ability to take advantage and while he has been beaten a long way on both his starts in 2016, he would have been rusty after his long layoff and probably ran a bit better than his finishing position of fifth would suggest at Stratford last time. He should be spot on for this latest assignment and with his stable going well – two winners from just four runners in the last fortnight, including a faller – he’s taken to get back on the winning trail under Daryl Jacob.
The beginners’ chase looks a match between Move To The Groove and ROADIE JOE, with narrow preference for the latter, while Nicky Henderson’s WINNING BAE, a half-sister to classy chaser Burton Port, may well be up to winning the bumper on her debut, as many of her stablemates have tended to do in such contests.
The final bet is running in the 2m handicap chase on the card with TABLE BLUFF fancied to make light of his 428-day absence. He is one of the least exposed runners in the field having had just six chase starts and has already shown a high enough level of form to land this. Indeed, he’s yet to finish out of the first four, winning once at Southwell off just 2lb lower and finishing a close second again at the same track last June.
A fair third on his chase debut over track and trip, he’s definitely handicapped to win of these before the bigger names start appearing and will the assistance of regular partner Nico de Boinville. A quick market check will provide the best guide over his fitness on his return to action. UPDATE – he’s proving relatively easy to back so best keep stakes small.
Worcester 2.10, Flying Gnu @ 11/2 Coral
Worcester 2.45, Water Wagtail @ 5/1 bet365
Worcester 3.20, Roadie Joe @ 11/10 Sky Bet
Worcester 3.50, Table Bluff @ 15/2 BetVictor
Worcester 4.20, Winding Bae @ 11/4 bet365