Two winners at 2-1 and 3-1 in for the column last week and I am hopeful of more of the same this week where jump racing takes centre stage on a busy day for Racing TV. As ever, four selections this week starting with.
The 9-1 that is generally available about this horse should be taken as he looks sue to run well in this competitive renewal of the Old Roan Chase.
The key bit of form that points to his chance came at the Cheltenham Festival last season where he finished a fine fourth in the Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Plate Handicap Chase behind Simply the Betts.
This was a tremendous effort given that he was hampered four out, but for which he would have finished closer to the winner. He has not run since then but that is not a worry given that Dan Skelton’s runners rarely lack for fitness.
I like the fact that he travels strongly through his races, a style of racing that will be well suited to this sharp track. There promises to be plenty of pace here which will suit his style and this trip of two and a half miles is spot on for him.
3.27 Wincanton: Oscars Moonshine
This horse bolted up at Exeter earlier in the week off a mark of 106. He has a 7lb penalty but Bryan Carver takes over in the saddle, taking off 5lb, making this horse look particularly well in.
I am a big fan of Carver and his burgeoning relationship with Paul Nicholls is well worth keeping an eye on.
On paper, this is a simple task for Oscars Moonshine, but aside from the weights and measures it is worth taking a look at his facile win at Exeter where he cruised through the race, jumped fluently and never came off the bridle.
This race is not much stronger and Oscars Moonshine should make short work of his opponents. Paul Nicholls has a 34 per cent strike rate at Wincanton.
3.35 Galway: Coqolino
This recruit from the pointing scene is clearly highly thought of. He won his only point easily from a horse who has subsequently won a bumper by 12 lengths.
On his sole start in a bumper he finished second to a very bright prospect in Bob Olinger. He went off the 9-10 favourite that day, indicating that he had been showing plenty at home prior to his Rules debut. He makes his hurdling debut here in a weak looking maiden hurdle and will likely go off at restrictive odds, he is still worth supporting.
His trainer, Gordon Elliott, has his horses firing on all cylinders as the jump season steps up a gear. Six of his past ten runners have won and this horse can add to this impressive statistics.
_3.42 Aintree: Clever As A Fox at 13-2 with Ladbrokes
I am keen on this horse completing a hat–trick here. He is chalked up at 13-2 in the early betting and given the ease of his latest success that is more than fair.
It is worth watching his win at Perth last time out, where he travelled strongly and sauntered eight lengths clear of Beeno.
He did hold an entry three days later at Newton Abbot, where he would have been hard to beat under a penalty. His trainer decided to swerve that race and has instead come here to race of a revised mark that is 10lb higher, but conditional rider Cillin Leonard negates 7lb of that rise.
This is clearly a tough test, being a competitive Class 2 Handicap Hurdle, but it could be run to suit Clever As A Fox who is likely to be held up in a race that looks likely to be run at a strong gallop.
He has won three of his six starts since joining Dr Richard Newland from Ireland and this can be his most notable success yet.
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