Our racing expert has three jumpers to back this afternoon.
Just about everything that Kim Bailey is running right now is winning (he’s 5-7 in the last fortnight) and all three of his runners this afternoon look to have serious chances.
His CRESSWELL LEGEND is the shortest-priced of the trio for the 3m1f novices’ limited handicap chase at Hereford and for good reason as the seven-year-old was progressive over hurdles last season, winning three times, and ran a blinder on last month’s chase debut at Perth (2m4f).
His rider David Bass set out to make all on that occasion and having got the seven-year-old jumping well out on front, the partnership were still in front at the last where they were headed, before rallying on the run-in and going down by a head.
On that evidence and given that he was a strong stayer over hurdles, winning over 3m and running Calett Mad close in a valuable class 2 over 3m2f, he’s going to relish today’s extra 5f and right-handed track – all four of his victories under Rules have come when racing that way round.
So, with everything in his favour this afternoon and a run under his belt, he’s going to prove hard to beat off what looks a workable mark (132) against four rivals, two of whom are returning after breaks.
His stablemate COMMODORE BARRY has just three rivals to beat in the 3m1f handicap hurdle on the card, in which he’s bidding to land a hat-trick after wins at Worcester in May and when reappearing at Southwell last month.
The handicapper has stepped in and raised him 7lb for the latter success and this is a step up in grade, but given the stable is flying I wouldn’t bet against him going in again.
Bailey has just one runner at Huntingdon with CLOONE LADY set to contest the 2m4f novices’ limited handicap chase and while she’s reappearing after an absence of 175 days, the six-year-old mare has to be worth an interest as she is potentially well treated on a mark of 117, with Mikey Hamill claiming 3lb off her back.
A point winner back in February, she appeared to find a soft surface against her on her first two outings over hurdles in the spring before showing marked improvement when encountering good ground here in April, finishing second of the 16 runners.
That qualified her for a mark and it seems significant that her in-form trainer is wasting no time in switching her to fences, with her previous experience of the bigger obstacles no doubt an influencing factor.
He’ll also be keen to strike before ground conditions go against her and that makes me think she will be straight enough on her return and having reportedly done particularly well over the summer. UPDATE -the selection is surprisingly easy to back – out to 10/1 from 6/1 – and that suggests she might need her first run back, so best keep stakes small if not already on.
All odds were correct at time of posting.