Our racing expert marks your card for Tuesday's jumps action at Wetherby.
It’s been a bit of a struggle for David Pipe this season and he doesn’t have the ammunition he once had, but one horse I’d expect him to place to advantage is WARTHOG. He’s sending the six-year-old north from his Devon base to contest this afternoon’s 3m handicap hurdle and on racecourse evidence the grey gelding really ought to go close.
A point winner, he’s shown ability in bumpers and over hurdles, culminating with a third place in an Ascot novice hurdle (2m3f, soft) last month. While he didn’t find a lot for pressure on that occasion, that was his first run back after wind surgery and the benefits of that are not always immediately apparent. He’s also making his handicap debut here off what looks a fair mark of 127 over what should be a more suitable trip, and is far less exposed than his five rivals.
Bandon Roc will be a popular choice with punters for the 2m5f handicap chase on the card having chased home Just Georgie in a slightly longer race here last month when sporting a first-time visor. That was easily his best effort in four starts this season and this three-time hurdle winner is handicapped to win races over fences. However, he was flattered to finish as close to the idling winner as he did, having run in snatches, and there’s no guarantee the headgear will work again on this lazy sort.
I was keen to take him on with his conqueror last time, but with that horse being declared a non-runner the suggestion is NEWBERRY NEW. The six-year-old was taking advantage of a slipped handicap mark when winning at Uttoxeter in December (2m4f, heavy) and he had no problem following in a race here the following month. He didn’t attempt the hat-trick until 11 days ago at Leicester and third place was a little disappointing given that he had beaten the winner into third the time before. However, his quick reappearance perhaps suggests he was just in need of that run and this is a far less competitive contest.
The market for the 2m3f handicap hurdle is dominated by the two last time-out winners in the field, Wig Wam Wiggle and INSTINGTIVE, and slight preference is for the latter horse at the respective odds.
Lisa Harrison’s seven-year-old is chasing a hat-trick after wins at Ayr and Carlisle last time, beating the same horse in Pc Dixon on each occasion. It’s hardly earth-shattering form, but the runner-up has gone one better since and while the selection has gone up a further 4lb, he benefits from Ross Chapman’s 3lb claim and is still rated below his chase mark.
A battling sort who is in great heart and is clearly at home on heavy ground, I would just about make him favourite and it’s hard to enthuse about any of the others, who are headed by the maiden Christmas In Usa (0-22 under Rules).
All odds were correct at time of posting.