By Chris Dixon
I’m in the Racing UK Studio on Sunday afternoon covering the action at Huntingdon but will also have a keen eye on the racing at Carlisle that also takes place on the channel so I’m taking a couple of horses at each meeting for today’s selections.
First to run is Mister Whitaker (1.30) who made an encouraging chase debut at Fontwell last time when not given a hard time to finish third behind a couple of higher-rated horses and based on that effort looks nicely treated off an opening handicap mark of 118.
Likely to be well positioned just behind the leaders on a chase track that often favours those prominently ridden, he’ll be well suited by longer trips in time but that’s no bad thing on this stiff track.
Just Minded won his bumper here and is a likely improver over fences this season so rates the main danger, though the advantage of race fitness tips the balance in favour of Mister Whitaker who is the bigger price of the pair at 13-2.
My other fancy at Carlisle is Templeross, who lines up in the staying handicap chase at 2.30. A winner at 3m over hurdles last year, he subsequently ran well back at shorter trips when hitting the frame in the Lanzarote at Kempton and another warm-looking handicap at Ascot in February but looked ready for a return to further on his chase debut at Uttoxeter last time.
He gets exactly that today and with those pieces of hurdles form having worked out pretty well, he looks potentially well-treated off a mark of 128 so is worth supporting at 4-1.
The chasing debut of Willoughby Court in the novices’ chase at 2.50 will provide the highlight at Huntingdon but the race makes little appeal from a punting perspective and I’m going either side of that heat for my two bets on the card.
Its A Sting is a slightly risky proposition in the 2m handicap chase at 2.15 having stood little racing in recent times and has regularly failed to see his races out in the past but I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt on that front on his latest start as it came on the back of a lengthy absence.
The way he travelled through that race suggests he’s returned in both good form and on an attractive handicap mark, while his previous hurdles form also suggests he’s well-treated. With a run behind him and a slight drop in trip on a flat track likely to play to his strengths, I’m happy to go with him at odds of 7-2.
Spy In The Sky is the early favourite for the closing handicap hurdle at 3.20 following an improved effort on her handicap debut last time, but that form didn’t look strong at the time and hasn’t really worked out since so I’d prefer to side with Kings Temptation at what looks a good value price of 8-1.
Ben Case’s charge showed improved form when stepped up in trip to just shy of 3m at Uttoxeter in June, pulling 20 lengths clear of the third. Although raised 9lb for that defeat, the subsequent placed efforts of the winner Lime Street suggest it’s a fair enough impost and given the way he saw that race out, it looks as though the extra distance here should suit.
Don’t be put off by the latest 60 length defeat at Exeter as he was badly hampered when making ground at the fourth last as the horse in front jumped across him and gave him a big bump when just starting to make good ground from the rear over a trip that would’ve been shorter than ideal.
Ilewindelilah was beaten by a very well handicapped horse when aiming to follow up his Fontwell win last time and comes from a yard going well so is feared most and may be worth a small saver.
Chris Dixon’s Sunday selections:
1.30 Carlisle: Mister Whitaker at a general 13-2
2.15 Huntingdon: Its A Sting at a general 7-2
2.30 Carlisle: Templeross at a general 4-1
3.20 Huntingdon: Kings Temptation at a general 8-1