Our resident tipster has unearthed four fancies for Thursday afternoon.
It’s competitive stuff at Taunton this afternoon with plenty of runners chasing decent prize money.
The 2m2f handicap chase (due off 3.10pm) has attracted a field of eight and I fancy the David Pipe-trained BALGARRY can make all. The eight-year-old has run well on both his chase starts this term including when finishing fourth behind Arzal over 2m4f at the Newbury Hennessy meeting. A confirmed front-runner, he was unable to secure the lead on that occasion and yet he was still in second spot approaching the last, before plugging on again at the finish.
The handicapper has strangely dropped him 2lb for that effort and he could well take advantage over this sharper track, with Tom Scudamore likely to make plenty use of him over the extended 2m2f trip. With his stable in much better form now, everything is in place for a big run and he gets the nap vote.
Paul Nicholls is usually the trainer to follow at the Somerset track and his Rock On Oscar looks certain to go off favourite for the 2m7f novices’ hurdle (1.10pm), having finished a narrow second on his reappearance at Kempton last month. However, he pulled hard on that occasion and is still “very immature” according to his trainer in a recent Stable Tour. With the stable going through a quiet spell and one or two running below expectations, he could be one to take on at shortish odds.
The race doesn’t have much strength in depth which makes me think Harry Fry’s WHATAKNIGHT is a cracking bet at the forecast odds. A prolific winner in point-to-points, he ran well to finish third on his hurdles debut over 2m5f at Wincanton, where he was noted staying on well close home. The winner Final Nudge has gone in again since to frank the form and the selection should do even better over today’s longer trip and with his trainer, a former assistant to Nicholls, in flying form.
I was left pulling my hair out by the fall of the fancied CYCLOP at Market last week as he was in total command when coming to grief two out – should have hit the lay button! Still, I get the opportunity to recover losses as the four-year-old reappears in this afternoon’s 3m handicap chase at Warwick (2.30pm). It’s a more competitive race but he is effectively a winner without a penalty and this trip on soft ground is just what he needs. Aidan Coleman renews the partnership and he has a healthy 18% strike rate on the stable runners.
In the 2m5f handicap hurdle run later on the card (3.00), I like the look of the Noel Williams-trained DALIANCE. Formerly with Neil King for whom he won a handicap chase at Southwell in April 2014, he reappeared over hurdles at the same track last month and ran an eye-catching race, finishing fourth behind impressive winner Pithivier. He should strip a lot fitter with that run under his belt and his trainer looks to have found him a good opportunity to exploit what is a very workable mark in this sphere. The stable’s last four runners have finished 5127 with the unplaced ones going off at 33/1 and 66/1.