Our racing expert marks your card for Wednesday's jumps action at Market Rasen.
With no inspection planned at the time of writing, Market Rasen looks set to go ahead and the best bet on the seven-race card is running in the 2m4f handicap hurdle, with CHANDOS BELLE a strong fancy to see off her eight rivals.
They include Zen Master, a clear second in a Taunton handicap last time, and Krugermac, who ran too bad to be true when sent off favourite at Fontwell last month and is well treated these days.
But the selection is getting weight from that pair and she ought to be up to defying a 9lb rise for winning at Huntingdon last time (2m41/2f, soft). Her winning margin of just under two lengths doesn’t really do her justice as she almost unseated her rider mid-race, causing him to lose an iron, and then met with trouble on the bend entering the straight.
Her trainer Stuart Edmunds, who is in fine form (2-6 in the last fortnight) and is enjoying his best ever season with 22 winners on the board, said afterwards she was improving all the time. In that case, a 9lb rise might not be enough to stop her following up, especially as ground conditions are again to her liking.
Just the five runners will go to post for the Smarkets Chase, a novices’ limited handicap over an extended 2m5f, and it looks a good opportunity for front-runner MONBEG CHARMER.
The Charlie Longsdon-trained seven-year-old couldn’t dominate in the ultra competitive Betbright Chase last time and was eventually pulled up, although he ran well up to a point and is just 4lb higher than when winning a decent handicap at Ludlow in November, the form of which has been nicely boosted since.
A headstrong type who wears a hood, he is probably capable of further improvement over fences after just four starts and with no obvious fellow front-runners to take him on, he might enjoy an uncontested lead. In which case he could well make all.
The market should prove the best guide to the closing bumper, but one horse who stands out on pedigree alone is Tom Lacey’s DORKING BOY. He has some very talented bumper winners amongst his close relatives, including Champion Bumper winner Ballyandy, and hails from an in-form yard (2-6 in the last fortnight) that does well in these type of races.
The booking of Richard Johnson, who is 17-71 (24%) on the stable runners for a £1 level-stakes profit of £33.97, and the fitting of a tongue-tie for what is his racecourse debut suggests that connections mean business.
All odds were correct at time of posting.