Our racing expert marks your card for Wednesday's racing.
GAELIC WIZARD returned to form when second last time and could be the answer to the opening 5f apprentice handicap at Carlisle this evening (4.45pm).
The eight-year-old has not won since May 2016 and his overall record of 3-36 suggests we should keep stakes small, but he went into my tracker when finishing runner-up in a race confined to lady riders at Thirsk earlier this month. He was a little unfortunate to bump into a better handicapped / drawn rival on that occasion and finished nicely clear of the remainder. Gemma Tutty (the trainer’s daughter) takes over on board here and is able to claim 6lb, which could make the difference.
Ian Williams’ course and distance winner MCDELTA looked a shade unlucky when trying to follow up at Yarmouth last time and may well gain compensation in the 7f handicap run later on the card (7.20pm).
The six-year-old was only beaten a length into third at the seaside venue having been held up and then finding his path blocked on the rail when coming with his run, forcing him to be switched. Previously, he’d shown his appreciation for this stiffer track when putting eight rivals to the sword and he remains well treated off just a 4lb higher mark, with his rider George Downing’s claim taking care of most of that. In his current frame of mind, he should prove hard to beat.
The closing handicap over an extended 1m3f (7.50pm) looks tricky to say the least, but FIRST SARGEANT looks to have as good a chance as any if we can forgive him a below-par run at Hamilton last time (1m4f, good to firm).
That was a higher grade race and he held every chance until weakening inside the final furlong, so perhaps it wasn’t such a bad run after all and today’s easier surface doesn’t harm his chances either as his best form has come on good or softer, including when a nose runner-up at Beverley in July. What clinches the bet, though, is the presence of Adam McNamara on his back as the highly promising apprentice is excellent value for his 5lb claim.