Ross Millar tipped two winners from two selections last Monday and bids to get the week off to a flying start with his fancies at Ffos Las.
Both the Nigel Twiston–Davies-trained Uncle Bert and the Nicky Henderson-trained Propelled arrive here with decent placed form to their name, but although Uncle Bert will appreciate the testing conditions, it was apparent that Propelled found his speed blunted on soft ground at this track last time.
With that in mind, I would rather take a chance on the Tim Vaughan-trained Kap Chidley who caught the eye when travelling well before finishing seventh over two miles on his hurdling debut at Chepstow.
He got a little tapped for toe on the good to soft ground on that occasion and was given a considerate ride after the second last, but still stuck to his task well.
The extra four furlongs and softer ground will put a more suitable emphasis on stamina plus extra hurdles to jump is no bad thing, given how assured his jumping was at Chepstow.
Tim Vaughan struggled for form last season and, as a result, is operating with a reduced string compared to previous years. However, his strike-rate for this season is at 13 per cent which shows a marked turn around in form.
This son of Kapgarde looks a promising type, who shouldn’t need to wait for handicaps to be competitive, and can land this pot.
Eve Johnson-Houghton’s daughter of Charming Thought has shown a real affinity for the polytrack surface at Kempton this winter, winning two of her three starts.
After her defeat at Kempton on her latest start, you could have been forgiven for thinking that a career-high rating of 60 had proved beyond her. The passing of time, however, has shown that trying to concede a pound to her conqueror, Zealot, who was rated 59 at the time, was mission impossible.
Zealot has won a further three times since, including off a mark of 77, and is now rated 83.
That suggests there is still some value in Rooful’s rating of 60, and providing she starts in a timely fashion from the plum draw in stall one, I expect the selection to regain the winning thread.
Testing ground at this track seemed to bring out the best in Thor De Cerisy when he won a handicap hurdle in taking style last time out. He has obvious claims here, but he’s now back over fences and his jumping wasn’t the most assured when racing over the larger obstacles at Lingfield in November.
Prime Pretender looks nicely weighted given that Bolsover Bill, who beat him over course and distance at the start of the month, is now rated 10lb higher, but the eight-year-old is still a maiden after twelve starts, and clearly finds winning difficult.
Dan and Harry Skelton combined to deliver us a winner last Monday and I’m hoping they can do the same again with Real Stone here.
He’s made a fairly inauspicious start to his chasing career with two sub-par performances, but he’s slipped to a mark 12lb below that of his rating over hurdles.
It is probably notable that his astute connections are happy to persevere over fences plus are dropping him back to the minimum trip on ground that he’s previously shown a liking for. His victory at Aintree plus his second at Chepstow, when attempting to concede a penalty to soft-ground specialist Grumpy Charley, both came in testing conditions.
Harry Skelton has been operating at an impressive strike-rate of 40 per cent over the past fortnight and rides Real Stone for the first time since they combined to win at Hereford in March 2021.
His return can be the catalyst for an upturn in form for this lightly-raced gelding on Monday.Enjoy a free one month trial of Racing TV – the only channel showing every race live from the Cheltenham Festival! Watch every race live from all the meetings that matter across Britain and Ireland including the Dublin Racing Festival. Click above to start yours now.
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