Our racing guru likes a trio of runners at Wetherby.
Richard Johnson travels to Wetherby for just two rides and NO COMMENT, his mount in the closing “national hunt” novices’ hurdle (4.00pm), rates nap material.
The five-year-old is the least experienced runner in the field having had a single start in a bumper, but it was one of considerable promise as he found only the highly regarded Rather Be too good in what looked an above average contest at Ludlow. There was a long gap back to the third.
The first foal of a mare from a very smart jumping family, he’s certainly bred for this game and you can bank on his trainer, the in-form Philip Hobbs, having him well schooled for his hurdles debut. The Minehead-based trainer can’t stop training winners – he had a treble on Saturday – and he’s trained his fair share here too, with six of 27 runners (22%) obliging. The selection is his sole representative this afternoon.
The Philip Kirby-trained TRANSIENT BAY was backed as if defeat was out of the question at Uttoxeter last time, only to finish a well beaten fourth. However, the six-year-old was unsuited by the slow pace of that race and having travelled well he found himself outpaced when the tempo increased approaching two out.
He is better judged on a two-length success at the same track when he would have won by much further than the official margin but for idling close home, with the rest well strung out. Lightly-raced and progressive, he is still at the right end of the handicap and, with a stiffer test likely this afternoon, he can get back to winning ways.
A total of eight have been declared for the track’s feature 2m3f handicap chase (3.25pm) and they include Venetia Williams’ Azert De Court, who was beaten a head over track and trip earlier this month. He should go well again but this represents a step up in grade and off a 5lb higher mark I’m inclined to take him on with the Dai Williams-trained BALLYADEEN.
The eight-year-old is also entered at Leicester but this is his preferred engagement and he’ll be the Berkshire-based Williams’ first runner at the track. The trainer has clearly spotted a good opportunity – the first prize of £6,498 is not to be sniffed at – for him to follow up last month’s facile success at Market Rasen. That was a little unexpected as he’d failed to complete on his two previous starts for the stable (PF) but he got his act together in style, jumping his rivals into submission to win by an eased down 28 lengths.
His trainer put the improvement down to a switch to more positive tactics, when questioned by the Stewards, and his rider James Banks, who claims a handy 3lb, is likely to again ride him from near the front. With the trip and ground ideal, the partnership could are going to take plenty of stopping.