Our racing expert marks your card for Wednesday's action, with a couple of Wetherby runners catching the eye.
Philip Hobbs has his string in rude health as evidenced by four winners in the last week and BALLOTIN, his only runner at the West Yorkshire venue, could keep his he good run going.
The six-year-old is making his British debut in the 2m3f handicap chase, a race his stable won two years ago, and as a multiple winner in France, including four times over fences, he can surely make his presence felt. He was last seen out finishing third at Auteuil in May under today’s amateur rider and the form has worked out well with both the second and fourth winning since. An opening mark of 139 may not be beyond him then and especially as he benefits from David Maxwell’s 7lb claim.
Some market interest would be a positive given he’s been off for 150 days, but this is a decent prize and I suspect Hobbs will have him straight enough. The 7/1 on offer looks more than fair.
Little Pop will line up in the 2m handicap chase seeking a hat-trick and he should make a bold bid from the he front, as that is the way he has to be ridden. He apparently panics when headed during a race and while he’s had things go his way the last twice in small-field handicaps at Market Rasen and Worcester, it would be no surprise to see him taken on for the lead in what is a better race and now racing off a career-high mark.
That makes him opposable and of his seven rivals the one that interests me most is TODAY PLEASE, who is trained by the in-form Henry Oliver. The seven-year-old was in good form in the spring, winning back-to-back races at Doncaster and Towcester before signing off with a narrow defeat at Worcester. He’s a horse who has had a problem with his wind in the past and given his trainer said back in April that he would have his sinuses “drilled” before returning in the autumn, now might be a good time to catch him. Still feasibly weighted on a mark of 118 and with James Davies (3-6 on him) booked, I’m happy to to take the 4/1 to find out.