It looks like being a hot renewal of the Group 2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday although there is little rain forecast for the rest of the week. That said at the time of writing the ground is described as soft and the hope is that conditions are no faster than good to soft come post time.
Former Gold Cup winner Coneygree is 5/2 with BetVictor and the Mark Bradstock-trained 10-year-old will receive weight from many of the principles including BetVictor’s 9/4 market leader Cue Card who won this corresponding race two years ago.
At Nottingham this afternoon, Master Archer (2.00) can finally break his maiden tag for James Fanshawe at the tenth time of asking although his draw in stall ten (of ten) is a cause for concern with a short run to the first bend. Rydan caught a tartar on ground softer than ideal last time, but he represents a big danger with the Gary Moore yard in such good form.
Good to firm ground at Taunton for their seven-race card and Cloonacool (3.20) looked just in need of the run when beaten less than ten lengths in a listed event at Market Rasen last time. The handicapper has dropped the selection a couple of pounds, he is at his best on a flat right-handed track, will enjoy the ground and Paddy Brennan keeps the ride.
Leg Lock Luke has ability but ran poorly on his reappearance over timber and I wonder whether he truly stays today’s 3m trip. He is reluctantly overlooked in favour of top-weight Generous Chief (3.50) who has never been the most consistent of animals and can often race lazily, but he is a confirmed stayer and is taken to land what looks a weak race.
At Fakenham Bright Tomorrow (1.40) is fitted with a tongue-tie for the first time and this former Jessica Harrington inmate is well treated on his chase form over timber. I felt the selection ran a decent enough first race for Warren Greatrex at Fontwell and the handicapper has seen fit to drop him 5lbs. Richard Johnson keeps the ride.
The 2m Handicap Chase is a hot contest and the form of Ashoka’s (2.40) third at Fontwell last time was given a boost when the winner followed up at Kempton last month. They will go a good gallop around this tight track and it would be no surprise if Artifice Sivola made a bold bid from the front having won over C&D from a 6lbs lower mark on New Year’s Day.
Enjoy Responsibly (3.40) has left Sam Thomas and joined Oliver Sherwood since his last run and is very well handicapped on is best form but does he stay today’s 2m 5f trip? If you trawl back through the formbook you will see he has won a 3m point-to-point, and I am convinced there are races to be won with this Irish import this season. If he stays, he must go very close.