Our racing expert marks your card for Friday's action at Uttoxeter.
I’ll be heading down to my local track Uttoxeter this afternoon and I’m hopeful the following can help make it a profitable experience.
There are four big-field handicap hurdles on the card and all look tricky to solve, but Warren Greatrex’s KNIGHT BACHELOR (2.40pm) surely won’t be too far away having enjoyed a confidence-boosting maiden hurdle success at Cartmel last time. Well backed beforehand and with conditions to suit, he made all the running to win as he liked and looks the type to run up a sequence in handicaps on good ground. His in-form trainer has a better than 1-3 strike rate at the track. The Snappy Poet is feared most.
The Keith Reveley-trained VIC’S LAST STAND (2.10pm) showed improved form when a staying-on third (of 13) on her handicap debut over course and distance at the last meeting here. There didn’t appear to be any fluke about that performance and given she is lightly-raced after just seven career starts, there should be more to come from her. She races off the same mark this afternoon and is reunited with capable amateur John Dawson, whose 5lb claim could prove decisive. She has Neil Mulholland’s Mrs Burbidge to beat.
Emma Lavelle is having a good month with three winners from her last eight runners and all have run up to form. That bodes well for her CELTIC PASSION (3.50pm) who is making just her third start for the stable, having been trained in Ireland previously. Granted, her only success to date came in a point-to-point but her latest second (of 16) at Worcester suggests it won’t be long before she doubles that tally, and this looks a decent opportunity with champion jockey Richard Johnson booked to do the steering. She looks to have most to fear from David Pipe’s Junior Package, a staying-on second over shorter last time.
The best bet on the card, if you don’t mind taking a short price, is Dan Skelton’s ULIS DE VASSY (4.25pm, who is 5lb well-in under a 7lb penalty for hacking up at Market Rasen six days ago. That was a welcome return to form by the eight-year-old who was a regular at the track last summer, winning back-to-back races (one over today’s trip) and then only finding Champion Court too good when attempting the hat-trick. That’s easily the best form on offer here and clearly at the top of his game, he’ll be tough to beat. Of his rivals, the well handicapped Notarfbad could give him most to do.