Our racing guru has his shrewd eye on a trio of runners.
Horses who are turned out quickly under a penalty need treating with some caution as their exertions can quite often leave a mark, but there are a couple of such runners this afternoon that really should follow up.
The David Pipe-trained VAZARO DELAFAYETTE never knew he’d had a race when hacking up at Huntingdon seven days ago and it’s no surprise to see him returned to action in this afternoon’s 2m7f novices’ handicap chase at Taunton (due off 3.50pm) under a 7lb penalty against just four rivals.
A progressive sort over hurdles, he was winning on just his second start over fences, having finished third on his debut previously, and almost certainly has more to offer in this sphere off his current low perch of 116. Indeed, I’ll be surprised if he’s not capable of rating somewhere in the high 130s as he gains experience. Stable jockey Tom Scudamore, who has twice steered him to victory, seems to get the best out of him.
The 2m3f handicap hurdle that closes the card (5.35pm) looks a real shocker with eight of the nine runners having nothing to recommend them on recent form. So it looks a great opportunity for the Evan Williams-trained ON THE ROAD to laugh off his 7lb penalty for last week’s facile Exeter success.
The six-year-old was stepping up considerably on previous efforts on that occasion, but he must have been showing something at home as he was well backed and supporters would have been counting their winnings a long way out. The handicapper is likely to take a dim view of that effort and connections are quite rightly striking whilst the iron is hot in what looks a very winnable contest.
Turning my attentions to the all-weather now, there is a decent bet in the 7f handicap at Chelmsford (8.40pm) in the shape of the David Dennis-trained WINK OLIVER, who hasn’t enjoyed much luck since scoring impressively on his sole previous start over track and trip last November.
The four-year-old gelding kept his form for a couple of runs after that, finishing second at Wolverhampton when attempting to follow up, before failing to handle the bend over a mile at Lingfield. He was then unseated at Kempton before again not appearing to handle the track when returned to Lingfield last time.
The handicapper has dropped him a 1lb since but it’s more the return to this trip and this track, where he clearly appreciates the deeper surface, that makes him of real interest. A plum draw in stall one is another piece of the jigsaw and the stable record here – 4-17 (24%) for a £1 level-stakes profit of £19.00 – clinches the bet.