Last seasons favourites take to the course and attempt to repeat past glories; novice chasers intent on a festival prize in the 2019 take their first (hopefully not tentative) jumps in public; and "store" horses emerge with reputations to build in novice hurdles. It's also a great time for 2nd-season chasers, and pundits like me hope to find those horses that have escaped the focus of the handicapper and start the season on a lenient rating.
There are a couple of meetings today at Stratford and Sedgefield, but the small fields do not offer much opportunity for value. The 3m3f handicap hurdle run at Sedgefield at 3:30pm will be a stamina-sapping test for the 5 runners even on the "good" ground, but one that catches the eye is WESTERN SUNRISE who stays this trip, has been running well recently, and comes here for this instead of running at Uttoxeter tomorrow (where he also holds an entry). With neither Nemean Lion and Tickenwolf having recent form that suggests they might win, the race looks between Western Sunrise, More Than Luck and Same Circus and they are all at odds of around 3/1. I'm discounting Same Circus as he does not appear to run well off a break and it's 150-days since his last run. More Than Luck has been running well in chase races recently, but he was not much of a hurdler and he may lack that bit of speed at the business end to win the race. For me, WESTERN SUNRISE represents the best chance of winning and current odds of 11/4 might not be bettered, as I can see him starting the 9/4 fav, he may even go off at 2/1.
At Stratford, there is an interesting 2m3f Class 3 handicap chase which last year was won by the decent, but ill-fated, chaser Starchitect. There appears to be nothing of that quality in today's field, but you never know.
For me, the most likely winner is the 6yo Comanche Chieftain who has won here at Stratford several times. He didn't stay the 3-mile trip at Fakenham LTO, but his ability carried him through the race and today's trip will suit him much better. The current race fav Cobra De Mai also found the 3-mile trip too much to handle when he tackled it at Chepstow LTO, but his overall performance was not as promising as COMANCHE CHIEFTAIN, and odds of 100/30 look fair although I would prefer odds of 4/1 or longer as this could be a competitive race.
I cannot advise a wager but, if you are, keep stakes small as these are early days in the jumps season, and we have a great weekend of racing ahead of us with plenty of wagering opportunities.
We dodged a couple of bullets there.ReplyDelete