Tuesday's Flat action on the channel presents a plethora of three-year-old handicaps at Nottingham, so I am happy sticking with an in-form stayer and then two in-form handicappers for Gary Moore over the jumps at Huntingdon.
Although he only won a length-and-a-half here last time, a decisive move early in the straight belied much greater superiority.
That was over 14 furlongs, but he was successful over an extended two miles on heavy going at Bath towards the end of his last season in 2019 so I am not in the least concerned about the step-up in trip. Soft ground would appear to be key, so if there is further rain that will not be an issue either.
Victory last time was presaged by a strong market move in the morning for this four-year-old, who definitely appears to be an improved performer. The fact that Roger Charlton is keeping such a lowly-rated stayer going after such an enforced absence hints at hopes of plenty of improvement to come.
This horse is testing his backers' reserves and there is no doubt there was much cursing when he unseated early at Plumpton last time when heavily-backed into evens.
Significantly, his best performance over fences has come over this course and distance when he was beaten three-quarters of a length in second in a small-field event that has already produced two subsequent winners, including Exelerator Express who bolted up at Haydock.
Iconic Muddle is rated 1lb higher than the ceiling for this handicap and has a class edge. But as I have mentioned before, I do feel he could be generously handicapped based on some of his hurdles runs against useful opposition. Judged on that second at Huntingdon, it looks as though it could be similar over fences.
Another Gary Moore horse, he only needs to reproduce recent course and distance form to score again despite a 7lb rise.
After a long absence, he had been dropping fairly rapidly down the weights on the back of some pretty poor performances where he never beat a rival in three runs. Having reached 104 from a high of 127, he recovered his spark in good style last time to win by six lengths - and despite going up again, races from a 4lb-lower mark than his highest-winning rating of 115.
The first-time visor might well have been very significant last time and it is no surprise to see that back on here. The Moore yard have been in pretty good form so far in May.
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