Our racing expert marks your card for Thursday's jumps action at Wincanton.
The 2m novices’ hurdle looks to be effectively a match between the Oliver Sherwood and Colin Tizzard representatives, Jurby and STORM HOME respectively, as they are the only winners in the field and also boast a similar formline, having beaten the same horse (Grand Clancy) into second when scoring. Jurby beat that rival by further at this track, but he’s now bled from the nose on a couple of occasions, including when pulled up at Doncaster on his most recent outing, and Storm Home looks by far the safest option.
A late faller when still going well on his only point start and again on his third start over hurdles, races won by Getabird and If The Cap Fits respectively, he finally came good when beating fellow novices at Taunton last month with a little up his sleeve. That will have done his confidence the world of good and the son of King’s Theatre, who cost his current connections £130,000, can be expected to build on that here with Tom Scudamore again taking the reigns.
Several of the runners in the 3m1f novices’ handicap chase have something to prove, so it could pay to stick with the only last time-out winner, CLONDAW WESTIE. Lawney Hill’s seven-year-old was making his chasing debut when scoring at Leicester last month and while that was over 2m4f, he shaped like he would improve again for the step up to this sort of trip. He certainly looks like he is going to make a better chaser than hurdler and there should still be plenty of mileage in his revised handicap mark (103) given his lowly starting point. Aidan Coleman retains the ride.
There is plenty of solid recent form to go on in the feature 3m1f handicap chase, but I’m going to take a chance on one who hasn’t been seen since December, the Philip Hobbs-trained and Richard Johnson-ridden VIEUX LILLE. While I’d like to some market confidence behind him given his absence (opened at 6/1), he looks to be on a winnable mark of 126, having been dropped 5lb since finishing fourth behind Daklondike in a better race at Newbury. That was a definite step forward from his previous start at Exeter and some of his form as a novice, including placed efforts behind American and Yala Enki, suggest he’s more than capable of making his mark in this company.
All odds were correct at time of posting.