A couple of mares running at Warwick have caught the eye of our racing expert.
Mares can be hard to catch right but when they do hit form it can pay to follow them and THE LAST BAR could be a case in point when she runs in this afternoon’s 2m5f handicap hurdle at Warwick (due off 4.20pm).
The six-year-old mare had shown very little on her debut for Dan Skelton at Market Rasen in January and was easy to back as a result (sent off 16/1) on her next start at Doncaster, where she belied her odds to run a close second. That wasn’t a great race, admittedly, but the one and three quarter length winner Muthabir is progressive and is now rated 118, so the selection’s opening handicap mark of 108 doesn’t look harsh by any means.
Her trainer has decided to step her up in trip this afternoon and that looks a smart move as she was doing all her best work late on last time, having been outpaced in the early part of the race. She should also benefit from racing exclusively against her own sex and it’s worth noting that only one of her 12 rivals (Tara Well) managed a top three finish last time and may have been flattered besides. Harry Skelton taking over from a claiming jockey is the clincher for the bet.
The day’s second bet is another mare who has struck form, with John Groucott’s MIDNIGHT JADE making all on her first try over fences at Southwell last month (3m1f good to soft). That was a big step up on her previous efforts over hurdles but it wouldn’t have been a total surprise to connections given her jumps pedigree – she’s by King’s Theatre out of a Strong Gale mare – and her placed form in point-to-points.
Her jockey Lee Edwards said after that race: “She got into a lovely rhythm in front. I just increased the tempo all the way to finish and she did it really well. She was hurdling before and that probably wasn’t really her game, she ran well in point-to-points so we thought we would try chasing and she loved it.”
The seven-year-old is stepping up in trip for this afternoon’s 3m5f handicap chase at the Midlands venue (due off 4.50pm) but stamina looks her strong suit – she certainly wasn’t stopping at the finish last time – and the better ground is not a worry either as she finished runner-up in a point on ‘good to firm’. Off just a 6lb higher mark and taking on rivals that are mostly out of form or are a bit long in the tooth, she can go in again.