Our racing expert marks your card for Wednesday's jumps action at Fontwell.
CABERNET D’ALENE looks the best bet at Fontwell when he runs in the 2m1f handicap hurdle. Nick Williams’ charge coped well with heavy ground when winning at Market Rasen last time and a 10lb rise is justified given he brutalised his opponents by 11 lengths or more.
The chances of him doing something similar in this better race are remote but, given his three previous wins over hurdles came on better ground, the forecast ‘good to soft’ is going to help. That his in-form trainer has booked Sam Twiston-Davies (3-10 on the stable runners), rather than claim off him, suggests he thinks the improving six-year-old is up to the task of beating eight rivals, several of whom arrive here with a point to prove.
Euxton Lane is rightly amongst the favourites for the 2m1f maiden hurdle having run a career-best when second behind Global Citizen (a Grade 2 winner subsequently) in a Southwell novices’ hurdle last time. However, he was perhaps flattered to finish so close on that occasion and considering he was doing all his best work late on, he might need a stiffer test.
Besides, he’d be getting 6lb off CASTERLY ROCK if this were a handicap and the latter Philip Hobbs-trained horse looks the one to be on. He too is improving over hurdles and was just three lengths behind Melangerie (winner again since) in a fair novice hurdle at at Ludlow in December. Having run a bold race from the front, he stuck on willingly to finish nicely clear of the third and while that run qualified him for handicaps, an ordinary maiden like this one should be well within his capabilities. I’d expect Richard Johnson to again make plenty use of him.
All odds were correct at time of posting.