Our racing guru is sweet on the chances of a couple of Catterick runners, with 9.5/1 available for the double.
Richard Johnson is at Catterick this afternoon for just two rides and WINTERED WELL, his mount in the closing 3m1f handicap (due off 5.00pm), looks well worth an interest.
A dual hurdles winner a couple of seasons back before picking up an injury and having to take 18 months out, the eight-year-old has shown on a couple of his three starts this term that he retains his ability. Most recently he finished third at Huntingdon (2m4f, good to soft) in first-time cheek-pieces, keeping on well to finish just a neck behind the second Poker School and giving the impression he would be suited by today’s longer trip.
The form of that race looks strong with the seven-length winner Abricot De L’Oasis finishing a creditable fifth in a Pertemps qualifier at Chepstow in very taxing conditions next time (look out for him on better ground), while the runner-up and fifth (Daliance) have both won since. The fourth, Kamool, clearly needs adding to your tracker / notebook and the selection, who runs off the same mark this afternoon, offers up the chance of a more immediate return on an investment at the current 5/2.
Johnson, who has a very respectable 19% strike rate at the North Yorkshire track, could well be chasing a double as the Philip Hobbs-trained ROYAL MILAN, his mount in the earlier 3m1f novices’ hurdle (4.00pm) looks to have a fine chance in receipt of 6lb from his main market rival, the penalised Minella Daddy.
Peter Bowen’s horse is still respected of course but the selection made an encouraging hurdles debut when third in good company at Doncaster in December (2m3f, good to soft) and shaped as though in need of this longer distance when disappointing at that track last time. He is the stable’s only runner this afternoon.
A £10 double on Richard Johnson’s rides pays £105.50 with bet365 at their current odds.
Michael Attwater’s ASK THE GURU looks to have major claims now dropping into class 6 company for the first time in the 5f handicap at Lingfield (due off 4.40pm), having finished a close third behind Secret Asset in a better race here last Thursday.
The six-year-old has not seen the winners’ enclosure since March 2015, when scoring over track and trip (his second C&D success) off a 7lb higher mark than today’s. However, he has hinted on his last couple of starts that he was about to take advantage of his slipping mark and today’s drop in class should do the trick, with his rider Robert Havlin aided by a good draw in stall two. Blue Bounty on his immediate inside is feared most.