Our racing expert marks your card for Thursday's jumps action at Wetherby.
If you only back one horse today, make sure it’s Tom Lacey’s ISLE OF EWE in the 2m5f handicap hurdle at the West Yorkshire track.
Punters may have got their fingers burnt when she was sent off favourite for a race at Market Rasen last month (sixth of the 11 runners), but with hindsight she was entitled to need that run having been off since a wide-margin hurdles win in August 2016.
Returning on what looked a very fair mark for her handicap debut, she was competitive before getting tired in the home straight and very much gave the impression the run would bring her on. She was also a little wayward at some of the obstacles and the return to a left-handed track should be in her favour.
With her stable absolutely flying right now (5-9 in the last fortnight) and with Richard Johnson renewing the partnership, she can surely get back any losses in this relatively low grade contest.
It’s not very often I will tip up a horse with seasonal form figures of UPP7P, but I’m going to make an exception in the case of Kerry Lee’s GOODTOKNOW.
Granted, it’s only 17 days since the last of those pulled up efforts, but he actually ran well for a long way, leading until the 16th before tiring, and Richard Johnson (back on board) wisely didn’t persevere for too long after.
The ten-year-old has also been competing in some tough handicaps, including the Becher Chase at Aintree, and this is arguably his easiest assignment of the season so far.
The handicapper has certainly given him a helping hand too, dropping him a further 5lb, meaning he’s now 21lb lower than when making his seasonal reappearance in October.
While he’s a ten-year-old now, I doubt he has gone backwards by that much and it’s also worth noting that one of his four chase wins came over this track and trip.
He’s worth risking then, to small stakes mind, and especially as none of his seven rivals arrive here in great form either, with three of them returning after long layoffs.
Lucinda Russell’s RISING MARIENBARD went into my tracker after his most recent start at Musselburgh, where he very much caught the eye when finishing best of all into fourth.
Making his handicap debut off what looked a fair mark of 100 given that he’d hinted at promise in novice company, he appeared to be struggling down the back straight before rallying to great effect.
This more galloping track is going to suit him much better and he’s also dropping in grade, with his current rating ensuring he just gets in at the top of the weights. It all adds up to a big run and he’s a very backable price to boot.
All odds were correct at time of posting.