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Monday selection box: Ayr race looks on a plate for Mac N Cheese

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Mon 15 Jan 2018

By Andy Stephens

There looks to be some interesting plays on Monday despite the modest nature of the racing but first of all a quick look back to the action on Saturday and, in particular, the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton.

Beforehand it looked a really deep renewal and, run at an honest gallop, the form seems likely to prove very strong.

William Henry showed himself to be classy in defying a mark of 145 and, even though he will go up 4lb or 5lb in the weights, has to be on any shortlist for the Coral Cup.

Modus made a bold bid to win both races last year - he ran off 156 at Cheltenham - and William Henry will tick plenty of boxes if he heads straight there because he is also proven on better ground and at the track.

Among the also-rans the big eye-catcher was Le Patriote, who was having his first start for Dr Richard Newland having previously been trained in France.

He tanked along and looked the most likely winner two out but he was unproven at the trip and faded to finish seventh after trading odds-on in-running on Betfair. Keep an eye out for him back at two miles.

More immediately, here are four for Monday:

2.00 Plumpton: What's Up Rory

This is a weak six-runner race and I imagine many will bank on Yourholidayisover repeating his triumph of 12 months ago.

However, it is worth recalling he was equipped with first-time blinkers 12 months ago and keep in mind that either side of that success this habitually weak finisher has chalked up 50 races without getting his head in front - being beaten on a dozen occasions after trading at 6-4 or shorter in-running.

You can also find holes in the other five runners but it’s a surprise to find Paddy Power chalking What’s Up Rory up as the 9-1 outsider.

He ran much better than the bare form indicates over 2m4f on heavy going at Bangor last time, when not getting home, and is now back to his optimum trip off a mark he defied at Chepstow (in a much better race) just four runs ago.

2.15 Ayr: Mac N Cheese

Mac N Cheese landed some good bets when bolting up on bad ground at Perth in September on his first start for the yard of Keith Dalgleish after a 20-month absence.

He has since shaped well in two chases but, having tried to take the odd fence with him, he now reverts back to the smaller obstacles.

Mac N Cheese finds himself 17lb higher than at Perth but his penultimate effort over fences, off the same mark when going close here despite making errors over an inadequate trip, suggests he is well up to defying his new rating.

In addition, Brian Hughes rides for the first time and he is an impressive 8-23 when teaming up with Dalgleish this season. Bet365 make Mac N Cheese a tasty 7-2.

3.05 Plumpton: Frank N Fair

Three of the five runners in this staying contest are the owners of a dreaded Timeform squiggle but course specialist Frank N Fair is not one of them and she has excellent prospects of enhancing her already good track record.

I thought she would be a short-priced favourite but at the time of writing she’s 3-1 with the unreliable Royal Palladium instead heading the market.

Frank N Fair twice won over course and distance last month - pouncing from off the pace each time - and put up a personal best last week when a fine third to the progressive Vinnie Lewis in the Sussex National when racing from 5lb out of the handicap.

The niggle is whether this will come a bit quick but she’s back off his correct mark in a much weaker race with Tommy Dowling, who has clicked with him, retaining the ride.

4.10 Plumpton: Keel Haul

Be Daring is predictably short in the betting after his near miss at Fontwell last week but he had a hard race in bottomless ground there and this sharper test is unlikely to suit him so well.

I was half-tempted to oppose him with Scrutinise, whose hurdle rating is now almost the same as his mark on the Flat. However, he has had many chances to capitalise on a favourable mark and so Keel Haul looks the bet at a general 9-2 (5-1 is available in a place).

Rated 112 over fences, he reverts to hurdles off a 15lb lower mark and his penultimate effort over fences, when a close fourth at Lingfield, suggests strongly he can take advantage.

Also, anoraks like me will delight in noting that the past three winners of this race have been ridden by 7lb conditional jockeys. The only 7lb claimer in action this time is Robert Hawker and guess who he is riding?

Andy's top tips for Monday:

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