Our racing expert marks your card for Sunday's action.
David Pipe has his string ticking over nicely heading into autumn and the trainer has fine prospects of an across-the-card double this afternoon.
In the 115-rated MR BURGEES he looks to have inherited a well-handicapped horse and given the seven-year-old has shown a preference for good ground when with Donald McCain previously, winning three times (two hurdles and a chase), Pipe will be keen to find him a race or two in the coming weeks before conditions go against him.
Today’s Plumpton contest, a handicap chase over 3m1f, looks an ideal opportunity with the ground riding on the fast side of good and, having been campaigned over shorter, the son of Westerner, a strong influence for stamina, should relish the step up in trip. While he has a long absence to overcome, that isn’t usually a problem for the stable runners and the application of a first-time tongue-tie suggests that connections mean business. Tom Scudamore rides.
His stablemate NICE THOUGHTS (NON-RUNNER) can initiate the stable double when he runs in the earlier 2m3f handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter. A progressive sort on the flat for James Tate, he has the size and scope to make it over hurdles and showed there was a race in him in this sphere when finishing a close second in a decent maiden hurdle at Ffos Las in May – the third Templehills runs in the opening maiden hurdle on the card and may well give the form a timely boost.
The selection could only finish fourth when sent off at odds-on when reappearing at Worcester last month, but a bad blunder two out didn’t help his cause and that run has qualified him for a handicap mark of 115. That could be a shade generous as Eddiemaurice, the horse that beat him just over a length in the spring, won a handicap off 116 on his next start. With promising 3lb claimer David Noonan booked, I’ll be disappointed if he can’t beat nine more exposed rivals.
Charlie Longsdon is another trainer amongst the winners of late and anything he runs at Uttoxeter is always worth a second look, with the stable boasting a 21% strike rate. The vast majority of his winners are ridden by Richard Johnson and they team up with SONG OF THE NIGHT in the 2m7f handicap hurdle. The five-year-old doesn’t exactly jump off the page, admittedly, with British form figures of 57003P. However, he’s surely capable of better than he’s shown so far and this is the first time he’s had his conditions since going handicapping, having hated the heavy conditions the last twice.
Runner-up on his only Irish point-to-point start behind Monbeg Charmer, who also joined this stable and won a Carlisle bumper on his British debut, he’s just the sort of horse his trainer places to advantage around this time of year – he’s a very backable 8/1 too!