Our racing expert marks your card for Thursday's jumps action.
With no inspections planned at the time of writing, both of today’s jumps meetings at Ludlow and Wincanton should go ahead and the following three horses might just help us turn a profit.
The feature 3m handicap chase is mainly contested by horses who have become hard to win with and safest option by some way looks to be top weight ACTINPIECES, who has been in good form this season and ran right up to her very best when beaten under a length in Listed company at Wetherby last time. Having picked up some valuable black type, Pam Sly’s seven-year-old mare is now able to race off the same mark in this less competitive contest with regular partner Gina Andrews taking off 3lb. With the trip, track and ground all in her favour this afternoon, she is a confident selection to add to her tally of three chase wins.
Nick Williams has his string in fantastic nick with four winners to show from his nine runners in the last fortnight, which is most encouraging for the prospects of his GAMAIN in the 3m handicap hurdle run later on the card. While the nine-year-old is no stable star, he has been running well this season and wasn’t beaten far into third in a big field over track and trip eight days ago under today’s 7lb claiming rider. He looked like the winner after taking it up on the long run round to the home straight only to be worn down close home by a couple of dead-heaters, and a similar effort off the same mark (he’s due to go up 5lb) should suffice.
The feature race at Wincanton is the Somerset National, a handicap chase run over an extended 3m2f, and it looks tailormade for CYCLOP. The David Dennis-trained seven-year-old is in his element over marathon trips when the mud is flying and while he’s only won twice as a chaser, his most recent success came last time out in another National, the Lincolnshire version at Market Rasen, where he just held on in a photo finish having been up there for a long way. Similar tactics could well pay off again as it often pays race handily around this track and having gone up just 3lb he lines up on a 2lb lower mark than 12 months ago, when he looked set to play a big part until meeting the fourth-last all wrong and falling.
All odds were correct at time of posting.