Good morning all,
It’s non-stop for me for the next three days, with Lingfield-Ascot-Lingfield being the order of the weekend. I’m excited to see how the new Lingfield Million Weekend goes down and how much attention it will garner, and as a jumps aficionado Sunday looks a cracking card, if the entries hold up. Throw in the Clarence House in the middle and that’s a great weekend for me!
Let’s take a look through Lingfield’s Friday card and see if we can’t find a winner or two.
12.50 – Mares Novice Hurdle
Nurse Susan is 2-2 and looks a decent prospect for the Skeltons, but is definitely facing tougher opposition here. She’s unproven on really testing ground too, and the yard aren’t quite firing on all cylinders. Rainyday Woman keeps on winning but has nothing in hand of Game On For Glory on their Taunton form, with the latter 3lb off for 3l and looking like a more thorough test would suit. Indeed, she’s already proven on Lingfield heavy, having scored here in December, and the Lucy Wadham yard continue to have a good winter. She’s the pick, and maybe Love Envoi is the danger. Couldn’t have won much easier than she did in bad ground at Warwick and continues to improve.
1.50 Lingfield – 2m Handicap Chase
I’m a big fan of One True King and it was pleasing to see him win at Sandown two starts ago, but whether he wants the ground this bad has to be a worry, and I’m passing him over today. Frero Banbou has bumped into some well-handicapped horses on his travels this season and is probably the one to beat, but I just prefer the claims of Cedar Hill, a winner last time out at Kelso after battling on to get back up late. He just about holds Eclair D’Ainay at these weights on their 1-2 at Kelso last March, and he’ll handle the ground.
Le Ligerien jumped a lot better than he had done previously when winning at Chepstow but I’d like to see him do it again before I’m convinced he’s turned a corner.
2.25 Lingfield – 2m7f Cazoo Hurdle
A shame this 50k race has only attracted the five, and for my money all five have some sort of question mark against them.
Emitom goes back hurdling after a couple of respectable efforts over fences, but it’s clear he’s not the horse he looked like he might be once upon a time. He’ll act on the ground but is clearly beatable. On The Blind Side is inconsistent but capable, Calva D’Auge gets the trip but whether he’ll get it on ground this deep is another thing, so with Dan McGrue looking outclassed, so it is to Top Ville Ben I turn.
Better known for his chasing exploits, connections have clearly seen this as a winning opportunity and given he’ll love the ground, I can basically see him going from the front and breaking these one by one. He’ll need to get the fractions right and not go too quickly, as they did at Wetherby in the Rowland Meyrick (humped top weight too) but that aside, he’s got less questions against him than the others.
3.00 Lingfield – 2m7f Novice Chase
Tough little puzzle to solve. There’s a race on for the lead, with Broken Halo, Bushypark and Midnight River all likely to want to go forward early and who wins that battle could be decisive. My money is just with Bushypark, who ran too badly to be true at Haydock last time and that effort is best forgiven, but had looked a chaser of some promise when jumping well to score at Kelso the time before, the second holding up that form at Warwick at the weekend. He stays well in deep ground and ticks plenty of boxes for this.
Broken Halo was equally impressive at Exeter in heavy ground last time but there’s still the nagging doubt about whether he really wants this far. On the occasions he’s tried it, his finishing effort has flattened out a bit, and Bushypark might wear him down.
Hold That Taught will find this easier than the Welsh National and has chances for a yard still banging the winners in (Venetia Williams), and Queenofhearts will be interesting getting the weight if she takes to fences on her first attempt for Kim Bailey.
4.08 Lingfield – 2m4f Handicap Chase
I think you’ve got to wait until the last for the best bet of the day, as I’m very keen on the chances of Tile Tapper here.
This time last year he was finishing in the frame in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle, which was solid effort in the circumstances and showed heavy ground held no fears for him, and he put in a perfectly good first run over fences when fourth in what now looks a red-hot little race at Exeter. Winner L’Homme Presse looks Festival-bound and second Gunsight Ridge won with a bit in hand at Sandown last weekend, and I expect Tile Tapper, who was having his first start since October, to come on a bit for that. He gets another welcome drop from the handicapper and clearly holds Cut The Mustard (who herself gave the form a boost next time) on that run. There’s a lot to like about his chance.
Zalvados is bound to be popular on his first start for Fergal O’Brien (left Oliver Greenall) and it will be interesting to see if he’s got him to finish his race off a bit better. If so, he’s got chances, but I’m hoping Tile Tapper will be paying for the beers later tonight.
Today's selectiion – Tile Tapper 4.08 Lingfield
Good luck with all your bets today,