Monday afternoon’s racing comes from Kelso and Plumpton over the jumps before Wolverhampton takes over for the evening shift on the all-weather, but I will have all of my bets settled by the time that meeting gets underway as all four of my fancies line up at Kelso and Plumpton.
Empire De Maulde was well beaten on his return from an absence last time but he went with minor encouragement for a fair way and took well to jumping fences plus he travelled well enough, although he could never get into the race as her got tired in the straight.
He could be much fitter with that run behind him and if judged on his progressive form over hurdles prior to his time off, he would have a good chance here.
The application of cheekpieces is taken as a sign of intent to bring about a sharper performance, while his stable are in good form and the assistance of Brian Hughes in the saddle has to be a plus.
Anthony Honeyball has an excellent record with handicap debutants and with the stable in tremendous form, Hideaway Vic is fancied to make a successful switch to handicaps here.
He has the look of a horse that has not been the easiest to train having not had many starts, but he has some strong form in the book and could have been let in lightly off a mark of 120.
He has had wind surgery since he was last seen which should hopefully improve hime, while the step up in trip should be within range given how he shaped last time.
The Con Man shaped really well at Haydock last time, looking all over the winner for much of the straight but got caught close home, He sat closer to the pace than the winner and made his effort earlier than ideal.
He has been nudged up 5lb in the handicap, but he still appeals as a well-treated horse on both that latest run plus his previous effort when second in a race that has worked out well.
He is bred to appreciate this longer trip and his style of racing makes him look an ideal type for this track.
This looks a weak handicap and I think it is worth taking a chance on Dream Baie at double-figure odds. He hasn’t been seen for over a year, but his trainer Michael Roberts is capable of getting horses ready following time off the track and Dream Baie looks potentially well handicapped.
Having shown some ability during a short time with Joseph O’Brien, the seven-year-old matched that level of form when third at Huntingdon in March 2018 and was subsequently allotted a mark of 105.
Having lost his form, he has dropped a long way in the weights to a rating of 86 and there were signs he could be up to winning a race of this nature off that mark when last seen finishing third over course and distance.
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