Our racing expert marks your card for Thursday's jumps action at Wincanton.
JENNYS SURPRISE lived up to her name when springing an 11/1 ‘surprise’ on her return to action at Uttoxeter last month on ground not considered to be soft enough for her. The effort can be marked up then and the Fergal O’Brien-trained mare looks a good candidate to follow up in this afternoons 3m1f feature handicap chase with conditions more to her liking.
Whilst a 5lb rise in the weights makes life tougher for her, she has won off higher marks than today’s 123 and, perhaps tellingly she has twice won back-to-back races in her career.
Paddy Brennan takes over in the saddle this afternoon and he has already booted home 28 winners for the in-form stable this season at a healthy strike rate of 25 per cent.
Kim Bailey is in a rich vein of form with six winners on the board in the last fortnight and several others running well, so that fuels confidence in his CHATEAU ROBIN in the amateur riders handicap chase, with the relatively experienced Zac Baker booked to ride.
The six-year-old was twice a runner-up over hurdles last season when still immature and looked to have strengthened up considerably for his summer break when reappearing over fences at Ayr last month. Despite looking like the run would bring him on after 248 days off, he served it up to the winner all the way up the home straight and that second-placed effort has to go down as a highly satisfactory chase debut.
Just 2lb higher this afternoon and off a mark of 107 which surely underestimates his true ability, he looks a good bet to go one better against six rivals, all of whom are more exposed and look handicapped up to the hilt.
I’m always a little wary of putting one up for a bumper well in advance as the market is by far the best guide to these type of races. That said, the booking of Richard Johnson for the Mick Channon-trained BARD OF BRITTANY has to be seen as a positive, as is the stable record in bumpers.
Better known as a Flat trainer, Channon has sent out five winners in this sphere from just 24 runners (21%) since 2012 and the selection is certainly bred for the job, with her dam finishing fourth in one of these and being a half-sister to a bumper/2m hurdle winner.
All odds were correct at time of posting.