…..and dire bends as well, with both televised meetings at Warwick and Market Rasen going ahead despite the worst the Weather Gods can do.
Always a bit of a lottery when ground conditions are like this, but it is what it is and we plough on regardless.
First race at Warwick is the McCoy Contractors Novices’ Chase at 1.50 with a field of just three, headed by Next Destination at 10-11.
Although saddled with a penalty for its Newbury win, Paul Nicholls‘ runner is the most likely winner, with Fiddlerontheroof becoming disappointing and the much more likeable Golan Fortune not certain to appreciate the jumping test presented by this course. However, the price does not appeal so we are ‘no bet’.
At 2.25, the Ballymore Leamington Novices’ Hurdle has 12 runners and we are going to try to help Colin Tizzard get off the mark for 2021 by selecting Oscar Elite at 6-1.
This 6-y-o has won both starts for the yard, both on heavy going and has not been pushed to do so. This Irish Point winner has proven stamina and a liking for atrocious ground, so an each way bet is recommended.
Most valuable race on the card is the McCoy Contractors Handicap Chase at 3.00 which has the (hopefully) aptly named Notachance installed as favourite at 7-2.
We like the chances of Le Breuil, trained by Ben Pauling.
After a blank season (just 4 runs), this 9-y-o has returned to action with two solid performances and has now had a wind op as well. Winner of the National Hunt Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019, LB has come down to a really good mark and we suggest a cautious e/w punt at 9-2.
The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at 3.35 is the most competitive race on the card and we will ‘dutch’ this one by recommending each way bets on Keppage and Potters Corner, which are both available at 8-1.
The former is a potential improver while the latter can run off 18lbs lower than its current chase mark.
Over at The Rasen, there are three races for our amusement, starting with the MansionBet Handicap Hurdle at 2.05.
Just four take part in this and the strong favourite is Edwardstone at 11-10.
Alan King‘s runner reverts to hurdles after going butt over mammary on its chasing debut last time out, but we’re gonna take this one on with a bet on Rowland Ward at an attractive 7-1.
Stuart Edmunds‘s 5-y-o is potentially very well handicapped and, if handling the sticky stuff, looks a sporting bet.
The MansionBet Hurdle at 2.40 has a field of eight, headed by On The Blind Side at 11-8. Not a great price, we grant you, but NJH‘s charge should really mop this up, so we do suggest backing it at that price.
Coverage is completed with the Listed Bumper at 3.35 with favouritism being disputed by Grangee and Eileendover at 13-8.
Sometimes, folks, one just has to take a view and our view is that Eileendover won’t see out the trip on today’s ground and the Willie Mullins trained Grangee is definitely the one to be with.
A win bet is de rigeur.
Sorry there’s no 80-1 selection today – maybe next time.
Oscar Elite 2.25 Warwick 1pt e/w @ 6-1
Le Breuil 3.00 Warwick 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (4 places)
Keppage 3.35 Warwick 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (4 places)
Potters Corner 3.35 Warwick 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (4 places)
Rowland Ward 2.05 Market Rasen 2pts win @ 7-1
On The Blind Side 2.40 Market Rasen 3pts win @ 11-8
Grangee 3.15 Market Rasen 4pts win @ 13-8