Our racing expert marks your card for Tuesday's action.
The best bet this afternoon is over jumps at Worcester in the shape of the Olly Murphy-trained SKILLED, who is chasing a hat-trick in the 2m4f handicap chase.
The seven-year-old faces six rivals most of whom have fair recent form to their name, but the selection is on a roll after victories at Stratford and Southwell last time and may well be still one step ahead of the handicapper, despite a further 7lb rise for the latest of those.
Sent off 15/8 favourite, he only just prevailed by a head having looked to have taken the race by the scruff of the neck leaving the back straight. However, he made life harder by walking through the last and then idling on the run in before digging deep to hold off Highbury High close home.
The runner-up won on his subsequent outing to boost the form and the big gap back to the third also suggests the winner can complete his hat-trick. He also seems to handle give in the ground better than most of his rivals and therefore won’t be inconvenienced should the forecast rain ease the going from the current good.
CAPTAIN MORLEY has been put in as favourite for the 2m handicap hurdle and that’s understandable as this 99-rated Flat performer is potentially well treated off a mark of 110 on his handicap debut over jumps.
That his best effort in three hurdle starts came in a novice over track and trip last time is another positive and he won’t lack for assistance from the saddle with Aidan Coleman booked. He won’t get many better chances to open his account in this sphere and while I’ve got plenty of respect for Kerry Lee’s top weight Itshard To Know, who should strip fitter for his recent Cartmel third, that horse might struggle to give 10lb to the selection.
It will be interesting to see which way WOOLSTONE ONE goes in the market on his return to action after 549 days off in the 2m maiden hurdle. The Harry Whittington-trained five-year-old looked a useful prospect when winning his first two bumper starts a couple of seasons ago and was favourably compared to the same stable’s Arzal, who won five times and had his finest hour in a Grade 1 Chase at Aintree before sadly breaking down at home.
The selection has clearly has had his own problems since finishing tailed off in a Listed bumper when last seen, but he has the scope to do well at this game and his shrewd handler can ready one after a layoff. But I’d hold off backing him until seeing some market confidence as any drift from the current 3/1 would suggest he might just need it.