Many of the races at both venues are dominated by a short-priced favourites with Earlofthectotswolds (12.20 Carlisle), Xpo Universal (12.50 Carlisle), One For Rosie (1.20 Carlisle), Umbrigado (1.10 Southwell), Stoney Mountain (1.45 Southwell) and Monbeg Zena (2.50 Southwell) all odds on this morning.
None of them appeal as crying to be taken on so it’s left me with a limited number of races to go at and as such there’s only three selections today as opposed to the usual four.
Cash To Ash has looked a natural in two starts over fences and has a solid chance of gaining a first success of his career here.
He stepped forward on the glimmers of ability he’d shown in novice hurdles when switched to fences after a break at Hexham in a race that worked out well before progressing again to finish second at Wetherby last time.
The winner of that race, Pookie Pekan, has been well beaten since at Market Rasen but he didn’t give his running, probably finding that race coming too soon and he still appeals as ahead of his mark and with Cash To Ash well clear of the rest at Wetherby, he also looks well treated despite a 5lb rise.
Only five starts into his career under Rules, there’s a strong chance he has better to come and though Generous Day is feared, I’m hoping Cash To Ash has too much in hand.
Sam England has her horses in good form and given the stable are 0-36 with horses returning from a break of 150 days or more off the track, I thought Chef D’Oeuvre shaped with plenty of encouragement on his seasonal return and stable debut at Uttoxeter last month.
Given the yard have a good record with horses they’ve picked up from elsewhere there could be more to from Chef D’Oeuvre, who has dropped to an attractive mark some 15lb lower than his career high perch of 135.
The return to testing ground is another plus and though his jumping of fences has not always been an asset, he was OK bar a couple of errors in that department at Uttoxeter and Carlisle’s notoriously inviting fences could be a help to him.
Trigger Nichol has looked an improved horse since switching to handicaps, initially in the process of running a good race until departing at the last at Ludlow in October and then producing a career-best effort at Huntingdon last week.
That runner-up finish at Huntingdon appeals as a solid piece of form - the winner San Pedro De Senam well handicapped and the next three home behind Trigger Nichol all arriving on the back of a win - and a reproduction of that effort may be enough to take this.
His stable remains in fine form and the application of cheekpieces for the first time could eek some more improvement from him while the booking of James King for this amateur riders event also looks significant.