Chris Dixon's Sunday service: George can be gorgeous at Chelmsford

By Chris Dixon@cdixon82
Sun 21 Jan 2018

Chris Dixon nailed 7-1 winner Letmego last week and has four fancies for Sunday's action at Chelmsford and Fontwell on Sunday.

By Chris Dixon

3.55 Chelmsford – George Dryden at a genrally available 3-1:

The additional meeting at Chelmsford on Sunday means there is still two meetings in the UK today, despite the abandonment of the card at Newcastle.

Hopefully George Dryden can ensure it is a winning day by taking the 5f handicap at 3.55.

A potentially very well handicapped horse on the best of his form, George Dryden looked to be on good terms with himself on his first start for Charlie Wallis when under two lengths sixth at Lingfield last week but was unsuited by the messy nature of that race.

Racing freely under a Tom Marquand hold-up ride in a race that was dominated by the prominent racers, he made enough late progress from his poor position to consider it an encouraging return and has since been dropped another 2lbs to 87 – he raced off 104 in 2016.

Wallis immediately takes the opportunity to drop his charge in class to the lowest grade of handicap he has ever contested and with Come On Dave and Swendab in the field there is a good chance of getting the solid pace that suits.

The booking of Jason Watson, a 7lbs claimer I’ve been very impressed with, completes a lengthy list of positives.

2.55 Chelmsford – Hard Toffee at a generally available 5-1:

I am less confident about the claims of Hard Toffee in the 10f handicap at 2.55 but at 5-1 Louise Allan’s charge looks slightly overpriced and is worth backing.

He has several pieces of form off higher marks within the last six months that make him look fairly well handicapped and though he was unable to build on his promising start for the new stable since transferring from Conrad Allen at this track in November when last seen in December, he still was not disgraced that day.

That race has worked out pretty well, Zoffany Bay and Spun Gold are a couple of next time out winners that were immediately behind him and given some of his previous best efforts have come when fresh, I think the 51-day break since could be a positive.

My feeling is he had to work fairly hard to get to the lead on each of his last two starts but that looks less likely here, and there is a decent chance he gets a tactical advantage in front under Luke Morris.

1.40 Fontwell – Native Robin at 11-4 with Sky Bet:

There is three last time out winners in the six-strong field for Fontwell’s handicap chase at 1.40 but with the twelve-year-old Cody Wyoming looking to defy a mark that has been beyond him in the past and Bramble Brook having made hard work of finally getting his head in front at Plumpton, Native Robin is easily the one that appeals most.

A winner off this mark of 110 in April 2016, an injury has halted his progress since but he was back on track last time at Warwick and was value for plenty more than the winning margin of two and three quarter lengths.

Still lightly-raced and boasting a career tally of three from six over fences, he tanked through the race last time before he comfortably asserted late on. Further improvement is on the cards and a 6lbs rise does not look enough to stop him if in the same form.

2.40 Fontwell – For Carmel at a generally available 5-1:

Native Robin’s in-form trainer Jeremy Scott also saddles Colmers Hill later in the afternoon for the staying handicap chase at 2.40 but while I think he has a very good chance, I just prefer For Carmel at the prices.

Seemingly well fancied when a beaten favourite for his chase debut at Lingfield last time, the previous point-to-point winner jumped well in the main and perhaps used up a little more energy than ideal in the middle of the race as he led the main pack behind the runaway leader.

Eventually picked off by horses that came from further back, he went through much of the race well enough to make me think he can defy this sort of mark while a few pieces of hurdles form, including his second place behind the handicap blot Dandy Duke at Chepstow in November, also suggest he is attractively weighted following a recent 3lbs drop in the ratings.

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