David Dennis has his string in fine form and that has not been lost on our resident tipster.
Former jumps jockey David Dennis is quickly making a name for himself as a dual-purpose trainer and his horses are in irresistible form.
Having trained 32 winners last season, he’s well on target to smash that figure this term with Final Nudge making it 20 for this term when scoring at Bangor on Saturday. That was also Dennis’ fifth winner from his last nine runners, which included a double strike on November 23 (12/1 & 7/1), and I’m hoping lighting can strike twice at Market Rasen this afternoon, where he has a 32% (6-19) strike rate.
First up, he runs CYCLOP in the novices’ handicap chase (1.10pm) and the four-year-old should be up to beating five rivals in receipt of all the age allowances. A winner of a juvenile hurdle at Huntingdon (another right-handed track) last season, he has been beaten in both his chase starts this term, doing best when third over 2m4f at Bangor last time out, but he should do a whole lot better now he tackles three miles for the first time.
Dennis, writing in a recent Stable Tour, explained the gelding’s switch to chasing, saying he was keen to exploit the allowances available to him and that he had been very pleased with his jumping so far. On the step up in trip, he said: ‘Basically he lacks a change of gear, but we’ll step him up to 3m in the future and that should help him. He added: “He’ll be kept busy through the winter as he handles soft ground. He has the the potential to make a nice chaser in time.”
That’s more than enough encouragement to think that he can get off the mark this afternoon off what looks a very workable mark of 115, taking on rivals who either lack a recent run or have been disappointing of late. With Aidan Coleman up, I rate him a rock-solid bet at the 3/1 on offer.
Let’s double him up with stablemate DAULYS ANTHEM, who is bidding to defy top weight in the closing handicap hurdle for conditional jockeys (3.30pm). The seven-year-old joined Dennis after winning an Irish point-to-point in March and he’s shown progressive form in four runs over hurdles, culminating in a third at Southwell last time. That run pleased his trainer (again using the Stable Tour as a source) and particularly as it came over a relatively sharp two miles. This more galloping track should therefore see him in an even better light and he is tackling handicap company for the first time off what looks a potentially generous mark of 108.
A couple of his rivals bring solid recent form to the table, including last-time-out winner Nebula Storm. He won readily at Southwell 16 days ago under the talented Harry Cobden, who is reunited with the gelding this afternoon and claims 5lb off him. However, he’s a horse who needs everything to fall right, as his hurdles record (2-17) shows, and he races off a career-high mark. Renoyr is another preferred in the betting to the selection, but he was thrashed in a seller two starts back and is hardly progressing at the age of ten.
He won’t be much of a price but THE GEEGEEZ GEEGEE won well at Plumpton last time under today’s pilot David Noonan, whose 5lb claim takes care of the gelding’s subsequent rise in the weights, and he ought to follow up in this afternoon’s 2m4f handicap hurdle (2.20pm). He’s a quirky sort and it was noticeable how he waited for the other horse’s to catch up after taking the lead last time, but he then stuck on gamely and is the type to keep defying the handicapper for a couple more races yet.