Our racing expert is eyeing up some potential bets on Ladies' Night at Uttoxeter.
Kings Temptation is amongst the favourites for the 3m novice handicap chase and rightly so as he’s the only recent winner in the field. However, he is not the most fluent over his fences and made one mistake too many when hitting the deck at Huntingdon last time, having scored there on his previous outing. That tight track might have been to blame and the more galloping nature of Uttoxeter might help him in that respect, but he’s risky nonetheless and is up against a couple of interesting newcomers to chasing.
Dan Skelton’s Cabaret Queen being one and she ran well enough over hurdles last month after a layoff to suggest she can be a player this evening. But she didn’t appear to get home when last tried over this far over hurdles and at the odds I’d much rather be on fellow chase debutant BLAGAPAR.
He was well beaten over hurdles last month, admittedly, but that run was surely needed after an absence of 637 days and he should strip far fitter here. Trained by the in-form Dr Richard Newland (3-9 in the last fortnight), who described him as a “three-mile chaser in time” after the second of his two hurdles wins in the summer of 2016, he’s still got time on his side at the age of seven and looks to be on a fair mark of 113, with Sam Twiston-Davies renewing the partnership.
The same trainer/jockey combo team up with WHOSHOTWHO in the 2m4f handicap chase run later on the card and the seven-year-old is a value price to open his account over fences at the first time of asking. A consistent sort over hurdles but yet to win for his current yard, having won twice for Nicky Henderson, he looks to be well treated on a mark of 122, which is 8lb lower than his peak so far. He pulled too hard for his own good when a well beaten third under his conditional rider at Plumpton when last seen out in May, but he should benefit from stronger handling here and his stable has done well with similar types in recent seasons.
The big danger and likely favourite is Militarian, who is potentially thrown in here having finished a close up third in a beginners’ chase at this track last time behind a couple of much higher rated rivals. However, he has been beaten on his two previous handicap chase outings and is still a maiden under Rules. His amateur jockey is another potential negative as he lacks experience and is on the ‘cold list’, having gone 470 days (30 rides) since riding a winner. While this looks a good opportunity to end that run, I’d be wary of taking a short price on it happening.
One who might go well at a price in the 2m3f207y handicap hurdle is John Flint’s COURT DUTY. The six-year-old faces 14 rivals and is giving weight to all bar one of those, but he is dropping into class 5 company for the first time over hurdles and this is the best ground he has encountered. A son of Court Cave, who has a good record as a jumps sire and whose progeny don’t mind quicker conditions, he has been running on heavy ground mostly and did best when a staying on third over 2m at Chepstow in March. This longer trip might also bring about some improvement then and his rider Tom O’Brien has ridden plenty of winners for the stable (13-68, 19% in recent seasons).
At the odds, he certainly makes more appeal than the forecast favourite Intifadah, who is a potential improver on his stable debut for Dan Skelton, a fact not missed by bookmakers, but has finished well beaten on his two previous tries over this far.
O’Brien has an even better record when getting the leg up for Stuart Edmunds, with four winners to show from just 13 rides (31%) for the Buckinghamshire trainer. The pair might click again this evening in the 2m3f207y maiden hurdle with LION ROUGE, who made an encouraging British/stable debut at Huntingdon last month. The ex-French gelding was flattered to finish second on that occasion as Hatcher looked booked for that spot when crashing out at the last flight. But even so he should have no trouble picking up a small race like this one and is getting a handy 4lb from the forecast favourite Holyrale, albeit that horse is respected.
All odds were correct at time of posting.