Our racing expert marks your card for Tuesday's all-weather action at Chelmsford.
It’s surely a question of time before SHAMSHON gets back to winning ways, considering how far he’s slipped in the weights, and it may well happen in the 5f handicap at Chelmsford this evening.
The Stuart Williams-trained seven-year-old was rated as high as 106 before settling somewhere in the 90s and winning off 92, so it doesn’t take a genius to work out he’s dangerously handicapped on a mark of 79.
Of course none of that matters if he’s deteriorated by that much and while I doubt he’s as good as he once was, there have been signs this winter that he’s far from finished. Indeed, a respectable fourth (off 83) in a class 2 at Southwell two starts back reads very well in the context of this easier contest and you can ignore his latest sixth over 6f here as he simply ran too free.
He’s probably better over the minimum these days and is best coming off late off a a fast pace, which seems likely here. So, with question marks over his main market rivals and with the stable amongst the winners of late, I’m hopeful he can add to his sole course and distance success.
Olly Murphy is running Avocet under a 5lb penalty in the closing class 7 1m5f handicap and that is the right thing to do as the five-year-old ran right away with a Southwell selling handicap just five days ago and is clearly in good heart.
However, the bare form of that victory doesn’t amount to much and, given his shortish odds, he makes limited appeal now back up in grade and over the furthest he has ever travelled. When you also consider he was beaten off much lower marks than today’s 52 on his previous two outings this winter, and indeed on his last three visits to this track, it’s worth trying to find one to beat him.
I stopped at Mick Appleby’s CANFORD THOMPSON as he has by far the most convincing recent form having finished runner-up the last twice, including in a class 6 run over track and trip two starts back. He’s effectively running off a 4lb lower mark this afternoon thanks to the 5lb claim of Kevin Lundie, who was on board the gelding when the partnership dead-heated for second at Wolverhampton just now four days ago.
That race wasn’t run to suit as it was steadily run and the selection, who was held up, was up against it trying to get involved from so far back. Considering he was beaten just half a length by the winner at the line, it’s fair to say he might have won with a stronger pace and it’s therefore no surprise that Appleby is turning him out again so quickly while the proverbial iron is still hot.
All odds were correct at time of posting.