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With the flat racing being a pain for me over the last couple of weeks, I've decided to revert back to the jumps at Worcester for the only jumps meeting of the day.
The one who will get a lot of attention in this race is the Irish Raider, Hazran who comes over from Eugene M O'Sullivan's yard in County Cork. It's a long way to come so has to be respected, but it doesn't mean that he instantly wins this race. I think we get too bogged down when the Irish send runners over for meetings like this, and something we shy away from having a bet in the race as it's a risk going against them, but I think he has to prove something today on the back of a 407-day absence from top weight.
I think BLUE COLLAR GLORY holds every chance in this, and it wouldn't surprise me to see odds of 4/1 or more floating around before the start of racing as the Irish horse and Ragamuffin will more than likely take up the vast majority of the betting in this race. I thought this mare made a good start to her chasing career last time out at Market Rasen. She was a little keen throughout the first half of the race and her jumping got better as the race went on, but the way she travelled through was eye-catching. When turning into the final stretch I thought she was going best and had every chance, but I don't think she stayed the 2m 4f over fences, and the earlier exertions of pulling didn't help. I think a drop back to this trip will be better suited, as she clearly has a bit of pace about her, and the quicker they went the better she jumped.
She seems to handle a slower surface as she was 2nd in a bumper last year on soft ground, which shows she has a decent turn of foot on her as bumpers do turn into a sprint, so it's another positive for the return to the minimum trip. She is still a 5yo so has more to come, and will have benefitted plenty for her first start over fences. Worcester's fences are easier to jump than your normal fences, so that's also positive for a horse with inexperience over the larger obstacles.
A horse who could be well handicapped and gets into this race off a fairly low weight is THE BIG STING. The money has arrived for this horse, and it doesn't surprise me as he was simply too big odds at 6/1 for the opening prices available.
Harry Fry sent this horse to Christopher Barber over the winter months where The Big Sting learnt his trade as a chaser by running in 8 PTP races. He seems to have taken to that code like a duck to water with him winning 6x and finishing runner-up a further 2x. He has since been sent back to Harry Fry's yard where he has a fairly easy job of getting him to win a race off a handicap mark of 90. It's hard to tell what he's beaten in those PTP races, but it's a fact that he jumps a fence better than he jumps a hurdle as he was 0/5 over the smaller obstacles, and has been a winning machine between the flags.
Running off 10st 13lbs makes his life much easier for him on chase debut, and it would be a surprise to see him not being very difficult to beat.