Our racing expert marks your card for Wednesday's action.
Today’s jumps cards at Musselburgh and Towcester should be safe from the weather and it’s the former track that is getting all my love and provides the selections.
The opening 3m handicap chase for conditional jockeys features a couple of last-time-out winners in So Satisfied and Misfits, but neither are obvious candidates to follow up off their revised marks and a chance is taken on Donald McCain’s MAHLER LAD. While he was beaten out of sight on his reappearance at Sedgefield last month, that was his first start for almost eight months and the ground would have been plenty soft enough for him. He is much better judged on a good-ground win at the same track last April and today’s better ground is going to suit him much better, while he should also strip fitter this afternoon.
Given that he accounted for the high-class Bellshill in an Irish point in 2014, he has been largely disappointing under Rules so far, but he’s still relatively lightly-raced over fences and a career-best seems probable with a first-time visor on to help him keep his mind on the job.
McCain’s Derintoher Yank should make a bold bid in the 2m4f novice chase, although he faces no easy task against Nicky Henderson’s Divine Spear, who is 2-2 over fences and was quite impressive at Ascot last time. But we can let him win at odds-on and there are better value bets elsewhere on the card.
Kevin Ryan’s CANNY STYLE has just four to beat in the 2m novices’ handicap hurdle, albeit three of that quarter can boast recent winning form. It’s a tight contest as a result but the Ryan mare looks the best treated runner on a mark of 108, which is what she ran off when a close third on her handicap debut at Sedgefield last time. A bad mistake at the second last checked her progress on that occasion and while it’s hard to say she should have won, it was still an encouraging effort on ground far softer than when winning her maiden hurdle at this track previously.
A fair stayer on the Flat and twice a winner here in that sphere, she is shaping up to be just as good over hurdles and is going to take plenty of beating under her regular rider Brian Hughes.
The closing bumper features a last-time-out winner, the penalised Eternally Yours, and a couple of horses who showed promise in bumpers last time. However, I’ve a sneaky feeling it can go to the sole unraced runner ZAKHAROVA, especially if the market speaks in her favour – she opened at 16/1 and I’ve already had a little each-way on. A daughter of Beat Hollow whose pedigree is packed full of winners, including in bumpers, she is representing the Lincolnshire-based Laura Morgan, who is paying her first visit to the track and has her small string ticking over nicely, with two winners (14/1 & 9/2) to show from her five runners in the last fortnight.
In receipt of the mares’ allowance and with Patrick Cowley taking 7lb off her back, meaning she is getting stacks of weight from her rivals, the selection may well be able to make the long journey up worthwhile.
All odds were correct at time of posting.