Our racing expert marks your card for Thursday's action.
With nothing grabbing the eye on the flat, I’m turning to a couple of jumpers for potential profit.
Former pointer Midnight King won his first race under Rules at Worcester last week and is being turned out again under a 7lb penalty in the 3m1f handicap chase at Fontwell (2.50pm), in which he carries top weight. The ten-year-old is the one they all have to beat and is priced accordingly at just 6/4, although he was all out to win by two and a half lengths in the end and his jumping wasn’t always fluent.
He’s worth taking on at the current odds and I fancy Jamie Snowden’s BRAVE ENCOUNTER can beat him getting a whopping 23lb. Another former pointer who won three times between the flags, he shaped nicely on his first start for his current stable at Stratford last month, staying on into third over a trip of 2m61/2f. The form of that contest has been well and truly franked by subsequent wins for the second and fourth and the selection, who can race off the same mark, should relish today’s longer trip.
The 2m maiden hurdle at Sedgefield (5.30pm) features a couple of horses who are proving expensive to follow amongst its seven-runner field. Alan King’s Magic Music Man is still a maiden after 14 starts under Rules and has looked a weak finisher several times now, including when letting down favourite backers twice in his last three starts. Connections are fitting a first-time visor but, even so, he’s one to be wary of and similar comments apply to Gordon Elliott’s Tajseer, who has had his limitations well exposed in two British starts as well as in his native Ireland.
As both horses take a big chunk out of the market – BetVictor go 5/2 and 10/3 respectively – the race makes some appeal as a betting medium and Donald McCain supplies my idea of the most likely winner in the shape of GOLDEN BANNER. The five-year-old is making his hurdles debut after showing promise on his bumper debut at Uttoxeter, where he faded into third after making most of the running. He’s related to a point/2m5f winner so is going to need further than this in time, but this is a weak maiden and his trainer has an eye-catching record in such races at the track – 14-21 (66.67%) since 2012 for a £1 level-stakes profit of £30.44, with four of the last five runners being successful.