Our racing expert marks your card for Wednesday's action.
With nothing catching the eye on the flat, it’s the jumps card at Wetherby that provides today’s bets.
The majority of the runners in the opening juvenile maiden hurdle have had previous experience but none have achieved much so far, and it can go to a newcomer in the shape of the Richard Spencer-trained NUCKY THOMPSON. A 78-rated performer on the level and third on his most recent start at Kempton 35 days ago, he’s likely to have been well schooled for his debut in this sphere and it’s worth noting that his small stable struck with another hurdling debutant, Excellent Guest, at Huntingdon earlier this his month. Like that horse, the selection will have the services of Noel Fehily in the saddle.
Martin Todhunter’s CLOUD MONKEY has improved on each of his three starts over hurdles, culminating in a seven-length second behind Top Of The Glas (who has won again since) at Hexham last month. That was over 2m and not for the first time he shaped as though a stiffer test was required, so the extended 2m3f trip of today’s novices’ hurdle may well see him take another step forward. A recent spin on the flat will have sharpened him up and his race fitness could prove decisive with several of today’s rivals returning from layoffs.
Tom Scudamore is an interesting jockey booking for the Brian Ellison-trained THE GREY TAYLOR, who is back at his favourite track and could go well at a price in the 2m3f handicap chase on the card. A decent novice hurdler a couple of seasons ago, with both his wins coming here, he started his chasing career well enough last autumn by finishing fourth in a hot novice again at this track, before hacking up at Carlisle on his next start. Things didn’t go to plan in three starts after that but he’s reportedly summered well, according to Ellison in a recent Stable Tour, and will strip fitter here after last month’s hurdles outing.
Micky Hammond’s Frederic was an easy winner at Market Rasen 18 days ago and will be a warm order to follow up in this afternoon’s 2m5f handicap hurdle. However, a 10lb rise and this more galloping track could find him out and I’d rather be on the David Dennis-trained MARQUIS OF CARABAS at a bigger price. A winner over 2m3f at Warwick in May, he was found out by the drop back to 2m when trying to follow up under a penalty at Worcester, although he still ran a creditable second to an odds-on winner getting 12lb. He’s been left on the same mark and with his stable going well (a couple of winners in the last seven days), I fancy he can make light of his 138-day absence over this more suitable trip and with Aidan Coleman doing the steering.
The Dan Skelton-trained Return Flight will be all the rage for the closing 2m handicap hurdle after hacking up at Southwell nine days ago on his first start for his new stable. Skelton has clearly found the key to the five-year-old and it’s no surprise to see him turned out again quickly under a penalty, with Bridget Andrews riding at her minimum weight. However, it was a poor contest that he won and makes no appeal at odds-on in this higher grade contest. He may well win but at the odds I’d rather have a little each-way on the Neil King-trained REGULATION. Nothing has gone right for him in a couple of starts since being just beaten at Uttoxeter in June as he was running a huge race in the Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen when tipping up two out, and you can put a line through his latest fourth at Plumpton as his saddle slipped. He deserves a change of luck and has the good ground he needs, so he could give the favourite a fright.
Wetherby 2.20, Nucky Thompson @ 9/4 Betfair
Wetherby 3.30, Cloud Monkey @ 4/1 bet365
Wetherby 4.00, The Grey Taylor @ 13/2 Betway
Wetherby 4.35, Marquis Of Carabas @ 13/2 BetVictor
Wetherby 5.40, Regulation each-way @ 8/1 BetVictor