Our racing expert marks your card for Tuesday's jumps action at Taunton.
I was tempted by Will O’The West at a double-digit price for the 2m7f handicap chase as this is easier than the strong handicaps he has run in the last twice, while his chase debut fourth at Uttoxeter in October has worked out well. A fair hurdler, he should be up to winning a race of this nature off his current mark (122) and his trainer Henry Daly is 2-2 in the last fortnight. However, he reportedly bled from the nose last time and while he’s been given two months off to get over that, he might just find the concession of 17lb to Kayley Woollacott’s dual point winner THE KINGS WRIT beyond him.
The latter horse has just 10st 8lb on his back after the handicapper left his mark (105) alone following a remote second (albeit clear of the third) behind Clondaw Rigger at Hereford in January. In hindsight, the seven-year-old faced an impossible task in trying to give the winner (who went up 14lb subsequently) stacks of weight and on that evidence he has the potential to win races under Rules. With this flatter track expected to suit him better, he may well prove good enough here under James Best, who was only narrowly beaten on a stablemate (a 14/1 shot) the other day.
Others make more appeal in the 2m2f handicap chase on recent form but none are exactly jumping off the page, and it could be worth taking a chance on the least exposed runner amongst them, Colin Tizzard’s LILLINGTON.
The joint-youngest in the field at six and with just one chase start under his belt, he surely has his best days ahead of him and, as a son of Westerner, he is bred to jump fences. While he cut little ice on his chase debut at Fontwell, better was clearly expected considering he went off at just 9/2 and the good ground wouldn’t have been ideal given his two best efforts over hurdles came on soft/heavy. Having been dropped a few pounds since and with his stable banging out the winners, he should carry Tom Scudamore a long way.
The closing mares handicap hurdle over a few yards shy of 3m doesn’t look the best betting medium on paper, but there is enough juice in the price of Alexandra Dunn’s BLACK NARCISSUS to get involved to small each-way stakes.
The nine-year-old has largely struggled since winning a handicap chase last February, but she’s dropped down the weights as a result and is now 1lb lower than her last winning mark over hurdles. She had a wind operation after pulling up at Uttoxeter in December and her subsequent fifth (of 14) at Towcester was certainly an improved effort, suggesting she was coming right again. With her stable in good nick – two winners (4/1 & 10/1) in the last fortnight – and with Richie McLernon (12 winners for the yard) booked, she looks capable of outrunning her 16/1 price tag.
All odds were correct at time of posting.