Our racing expert marks your card for Wednesday's action.
There’s plenty of jumps action to get stuck into this afternoon, but I’ve concentrated my efforts on Bangor where three handicappers in particular have caught my eye.
Harriet Bethell has travelled with three horses from her East Yorkshire base and NEWBERRY NEW is by far the most interesting of the trio in the opening 2m4f handicap chase, not least for the fact she has booked Aidan Coleman, who is 2-4 on the stable runners, to ride. The five-year old is also interesting for the reason he was a very useful juvenile hurdler when trained by Jessica Harrington in Ireland with one of his two victories coming in a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse, while the two horses that finished in front of him on his hat-trick bid are now rated in the 140s.
His form since coming over the Irish Sea is less to get excited about, although he started life in handicaps on a stiff mark of 135 and his four appearances over fences yielded a couple of third place finishes, most recently at Catterick in January. Having been dropped a further 6lb since his last run, he lines up and this afternoon on a mark of 108 and that is surely one he can win off. Some market support would be encouraging given he’s been off for 268 days, but that caveat aside he’s got to be worth a little each-way at the current 20/1.
It could be a good afternoon for the rider as he also gets the leg up on Lucy Wadham’s POTTERS LEGEND, who is my idea of the winner of the feature 3m handicap chase. Given the prospect of soft ground, stamina is going to be at a premium and we know the seven-year-old has that in spades as he was fourth (of 24) over 3m2f at the Cheltenham Festival in March, before filling the same spot in a 3m1f Listed handicap chase at Aintree in his final outing of last season.
He was fancied to go well on his reappearance at Chepstow last month, going off at just 5/1 for what was a competitive handicap, so it was a little disappointing that he couldn’t do better than seventh. However, he was putting in some good work late on, earning the form comment ‘ran on strongly after the last’, and he’s entitled to be a lot sharper for the run. Off a 1lb lower mark than in March and back at the scene of one of his two chase victories, he should give us a good run for our money.
There are several in the 2m3f handicap hurdle with more convincing recent form claims than LEONCAVALLO, but I’m anticipating a revival from the five-year-old in his first start for Ben Pauling. A smart juvenile when trained by John Ferguson, winning his first five starts and signing off with a fifth placed finish in the Triumph Hurdle, he has largely been battling the handicapper since and has faced some stiff tasks.
He left Charlie Appleby after finishing well beaten in Grade 3 handicap hurdles at Cheltenham and Aintree in the spring to join Pauling, who nominated this race for him in a recent Stable Tour. The trainer was also sounding hopeful that he could rekindle his better form, aided by some respite from the handicapper, and he’s giving him every chance here by booking his regular amateur pilot and 7lb claimer Alex Ferguson. With the stable firing on all cylinders (6-26 in the last fortnight), it seems everything is in place for a big run.