It is good to be back and hopefully I can get racingtv.com readers off to a decent start with a few winners.
I have been watching and reading all the various theories put forward about fitness and form but have taken the view that the general order of things will not have changed much and so nor will my approach.
I will be invariably looking at handicaps, though rule nothing out, especially if I see a promising two-year-old. As always, I’ll be looking for a bit of extra place action where it is available.
This horse did well on his first two runs for Olly Murphy when he won hurdle races at Kelso and Market Rasen in good enough style.
As a consequence he went off 7-2 favourite for a hot handicap hurdle at Market Rasen’s big summer jumping meeting but he was pretty much pulled up after a mistake in the straight that day and has since been absent.
He has a mixed pedigree, given he is by a sprinter out of a Montjeu mare who has produced stayers, and he was campaigned largely over a mile when he was running on the Flat in Ireland.
His profile over hurdles suggests he has taken after his dam’s side and it could easily be that he will show improved form now he is stepped up in trip on the level.
There has been ample time during lockdown for wind ops to be carried out and it would be easy to get carried away with the significance of such procedures.
St Gallen has had one, which may or may not help, but it is very easy to fancy him being well handicapped if he transfers the improvement he showed over hurdles.
His rivals are a largely familiar bunch of one-paced middle-distance stayers who struggle to get their heads in front. He looks to have only the James Fanshawe-trained Olympic Conqueror to beat.
This one stepped up to 0-90 company at Ascot on his latest start, in September, and found it a step too far in his attempt to complete a hat trick.
However, despite finishing eighth, he was beaten little more than two lengths and that can be marked up as was up against a better grade sprinter that day and was pressed from the outset after breaking typically smartly.
He is ideally drawn on this easier track and has a slow starter, who usually needs a run from a layoff, outside him so I believe could get comfortable on the lead. He is also dropped back to 0-85 grade.
The delayed start to this filly’s second season will have given Charles Hills plenty of opportunities to get her well versed in getting out of the stalls quickly. Provided she does that here, from stall 1, she can show herself to be very well treated on her handicap bow off a mark of 57.
Her half-brother, A Momentofmadness, also trained by Hills, is unbeaten in three runs at Kempton, including once after a lay off, and is a phenomenally quick starter so it is definitely in the genes.
Described by Timeform as a good-bodied filly, it will be disappointing if the £100,000 purchase has not improved since last year.
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