*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
**Inspections at Carlisle (abandoned) & Leicester at 10.30am on Sunday
The Drinmore has a quite amazing roll call of winners down through the years, but I fear Sunday’s renewal may not be quite up to scratch.
Two races could frame this year’s renewal, namely when Lifetime Ambition saw off Beacon Edge at Down Royal in a beginner’s chase at the back end of October with a cracking round of front running jumping along with the success of Gabynako over Fury Road in a similar race here earlier on in the month.
On that occasion you could possibly upgrade the performances of the first two as the Gavin Cromwell trained winner was very free early on and did well to see it out, while Fury Road made a series of niggling errors (the worst at the sixth) and then lost momentum when hampered at the eighth before running on nicely from the home turn.
This sharper trip is undeniably a negative for Fury Road, but plenty of these like to be at the sharp end which should insure a proper test at the trip and granted a more fluent round of jumping I expect him to provide us with the value play in a competitive if not vintage renewal.
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The biggest ‘near’ certainty in racing is, more often than not, that we need to expect into our racing brains the unexpected! It makes common sense, doesn’t it, because if the expected happened the majority of the time then the racing/betting/bookmaker model simply would not survive…
So I ‘expect’ several of the entries here not to even go to post with the drying weather still in charge and that could see my nine-year-old selection Forza Milan go very close here in a smaller field than expected for this long gallop.
Last time out at Cheltenham in the amateur rider’s handicap chase the selection hugely compromised his chance by a shuddering blunder at the sixth. He then took a while to warm to his task before making ground from about five out and finishing a never nearer 18 length fourth of the 13 runners. This extra yardage is certainly in his favour and it is worth remembering he ran well in this contest last year when the ground may well have been a shade too deep for him.
Smoking Gun is beginning to look very well treated on some of his old form, but a fall at the first in the Troytown wouldn’t have done his confidence any good and bigger dangers look to be the lightweight The Dabbler and Eurobot who is sure to have come on for his seasonal debut in the Cork National.
A quick word about Brian Rothwell’s charge at the bottom of the weights, indeed out of the weights, which doesn’t matter too much in a race over this distance, Fiveaftermidnight.
This son of Getaway is only 2lbs wrong and has suggested on more than one occasion recently that a thorough test of stamina would suit him perfectly. If I can get the price I want I may even have a saver to my selection on him as he is totally unexposed over this kind of trip.
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I thought that this mares’ handicap hurdle was one of the most interesting races of the day with several of the eight runner field set to run off new marks that give them solid claims if returning to their best form.
Tashunka certainly falls into that category having run really well at Worcester two outings back when a fine second to High Change in May off a rating of 102 despite having lost a fore shoe in the run.
It seemed that a combination of the extended 2m5f and the dead ground at Exeter last time out on her comeback seemed to catch her out, having looked all over the winner turning into the home stretch. She looks a massive player here if the drop back in trip on this better ground helps her.
However, the Fergal O’Brien charge is a slice of the odds of our selection, Chosen Shant, who has also been crying out for a return to top of the ground in national hunt terms.
Ian Williams stepped her up to three miles at Market Rasen last time out based on the evidence of her running on effort over 2m5f at Sedgefield, but she simply didn’t get home at the Lincolnshire track and this looks a better set up back in trip on a stiffer course.
The key race when assessing her chance also came at Worcester when she ran Coral to six lengths off a mark of 100. And, although it seems the flat track there seems to bring out the best in her, the handicapper has dropped her to 97 and Aidan Coleman rides her for the first time here.
The weather forecast is very mixed for the Cumbrian track, but if the rain and indeed snow stays away and the ground at worst is good to soft then the Nicky Richards’ trained Court Dreaming would be in pole position.
However, the odds are in favour of the ground deteriorating dramatically and that would be hugely to the advantage of Who’s In The Box who made great strides last year including a game success in the Lincolnshire National at Market Rasen.
He subsequently ran two really good races off higher marks at Sedgefield and Catterick and you could make a good argument to suggest he needed his first outing back over slightly further here at the end of last month.
However, he travelled very much like the best horse in the race that day and the slight drop in trip shouldn’t prove a problem if he is able to get his toe into the turf. The bonus is that the handicapper has dropped him a pound for what was clearly a promising return.
Sunday’s Horse Racing Tips
* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
**Inspections at Carlisle & Leicester at 9am on Sunday
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