Our resident tipster fancies a couple at Uttoxeter, including a 14/1 shot.
The stars of the winter game are starting to reappear on a more regular basis now and all eyes will be on Ireland’s top-rated chaser Don Cossack at Punchestown this afternoon.
Gordon Elliott’s charge won six of his seven starts last season, including the Grade 1 Gold Cup run here in April, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him show further improvement this season. He’s a prohibitive 1/4 to make a winning return in the 2m7f Irish Daily Star Chase (due off 4.30pm), though, and I can hardly put him up as a bet here.
But a 14/1 shot is another matter and that looks way too big a price for the Neil King-trained DELGANY DEMON, who is making his seasonal reappearance in the 2m6f Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase at Uttoxeter (4.40pm). He didn’t jump that well when finishing third on his chase debut here in May, which helps to explain his price, but he may have found 2m4f on the sharp side that day and is sure to have been well schooled over the summer.
He was a consistent sort over hurdles and was very impressive when winning by 21 lengths over three miles at Southwell on soft ground in December, before finishing placed on his next three starts. But he’s always looked like a chaser in the making and his trainer, who has been amongst the winners of late, did say in a recent interview that he’d done “incredibly well” over the summer. In truth, I’d fancy him more if the ground were softer, but I’m not going to pass up the opportunity to back him at a double-figure price.
Staying with Uttoxeter, Tim Vaughan looks to have found a good opportunity for his RYE HOUSE to get off the mark over jumps in the 2m handicap hurdle (4.05pm). Considering he was rated in the high 90s on the flat and was a winner at the York Ebor meeting, it’s a surprise the gelding hasn’t yet made his mark in this sphere after six starts, but things could be about to change here.
Having his first run since July at Ludlow eight days ago and under a positive ride from Richard Johnson, he only lost out on the run-in to the in-form Grams And Ounces, with the rest well beaten off. That was a big improvement on previous efforts and, with Johnson again likely to have him at the head of affairs, he can see off ten rivals, many of whom have something to prove. The exception being top weight Reyno, who hit the crossbar at Worcester last time and is respected on that effort.