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Just the one short-priced winner on Thursday. He didn't go off favourite, which was a surprise given the yard form and how well he ran on the back of a long layoff the time before, but he did stick to his task to beat the favourite who I mentioned would be his main threat.
Wincanton 1:00 – Bourbali 9/4 (1pt, WilliamHill/SkyBet)
This could be run at a strong pace, which I don't mind, but as long as Bourbali gets an uncontested lead, that's all that matters.
I don't think Charlie Deutsch will be daft enough to contest the lead with Brendan Powell on Bourbali, as it would definitely ruin his chances on winning on Heros, but he is a horse who likes to run from the front, and given the form of his last win has been franked by the runner-up winning at Doncaster in a Class 3 on Wednesday, he'll be strongly fancied for today's race. However, I think the free-going Bourbali could be very well handicapped off a mark of 129 and I don't think the top weight will be a massive hindrance to him today. He has transitioned to fences nicely, he has only won once from his three starts which saw him beat First Street in a match, which doesn't look great form, but I think his jumping in that race and even last time out where he finished last, shows his capabilities over fences.
You've got to ignore his last run as he went off like a nutter on the front end, challenging another out-and-out front runner in Nickle Back and that was never going to play to his strengths, but now he is running over further he should be able to get the uncontested lead as he is a quick horse and he should have too much pace and accurate jumping for those who want to challenge to even think it's a great idea. Over this trip, he could get the horses in behind in very bad rhythms as they won't want to give him too much room on the front, but in turn they'll be jumping at a quicker pace than they'd be used to. Though he is a free-going horse, he has proven to stay this trip nicely as shown when finishing 2nd to Grey Dawning over hurdles over 2m 5f in December 2022, which looks a cracking bit of form. He was giving weight to Grey Dawning who has since franked the form massively, he had Theatre Glory in 3rd, and she has run multiple good races in Class 1 company since.
Wincanton 2:00 – Moytier 17/2 (0.5pt EW, WilliamHill 4pl)
Back on a sounder surface should massively help the chances for Moytier.
Some horses are making their chase debuts, the likes of Dear Ralphy and Lustleigh have to be respected as they could be on dangerous handicap marks on their first starts over fences, but I feel like the form of Moytier's 3rd over today's C&D behind Pilsden Pen rates good enough for him to get his first win over rules with the better ground and drop in class likely to help.
He was never going to enjoy the heavy ground last time out, but he ran a nice race in a Class 4 (0-110) the time before on soft ground, which I still believe is too soft for him as his knee action looks one to suit better ground like today. The winner finished 2nd the time after and the 2nd has won and finished and runner-up on his next two starts. Moytier was running a belter until clattering the last fence, but he rallied after that mistake and gave a great account. His hurdles form would suggest he's on a good mark even though he has never won a race in his career to date. He was 2nd on good ground to Our Scholar, whilst giving the winner 8lbs, and the winner went on to win a further three races and is now rated 120.
This horse likes to run from the front, but so do a couple of others in this race, so I just hope Tom Bellamy doesn't get into a pace war.
Huntingdon 3:55 – Uptown Lady 4/1 (1pt)
It seems a bit strange that Jonjo Jr goes up to Sedgefield for four rides, none for his father, and Richie McLernon comes down to Huntingdon when he usually rides for Ben Haslam who has Dr Sanderson at Sedgefield on a tempting mark, but either way this combination of McLernon and Jonjo O'Neill have been getting winners for fun over the last week and had three at Catterick yesterday so the yard are in great form and I think Uptown Lady is worth a go in this race, despite the ground drying out all the time.
She is now a 9yo, but she is lightly raced and I feel like the drop back to this intermediate trip of 2m 4f will suit her even not on testing ground which her best form has come over. She doesn't seem like a strong stayer over 3m, and her form over shorter trips look mightily strong in comparison to the others in this race, hence why she has been rated as high as 128 over hurdles, which trumps everything else in this race. Her win at Warwick over 2m 3f looks strong considering she probably would've beaten Fantastic Lady who fell at the last, that horse is now rated 144 over fences.
She has had two runs over fences, which saw her unseat on chase debut when warming to the task quite nicely but wasn't fancied to run well after the layoff, going off at 40/1. Then last time out she finished 3rd at Ffos Las when jumping nicely, travelled powerfully but looked a total non-stayer on heavy over 3m. She has another big layoff of 296 to overcome, but she's back against the girls and that should give her every chance of winning, despite a couple of them turning up in good form and with the yard being in great form, I think she's worth a risk that she'll do herself justice on her first run this year.
Sedgefield 2:07 – Getaway With You 16/1 (0.5pt EW, 4pl)
It's a rare runner at Sedgefield for Paul Webber, with him sending two to the track, but I felt like his runner in the 2:07 race, Getaway With You was an interesting runner.
This horse is running out of the weights, which is never an ideal scenario, but I thought he ran a nice race on handicap debut at Lingfield when clearly outrunning his odds of 50/1 to finish 4th/13. His jumping early on in the race wasn't the best and he jumped into another horse at the 4th, but his jumping got better as he warmed up and it might've taken a while as he was previously over fences the race before and was probably trained over fences thoroughly prior to that race. He was hustled and bustled turning for home but was there for the win jumping the final few hurdles, but he was probably a bit outclassed and tired as he did weaken a fair bit after the last. He shaped like a horse who is definitely capable of winning races at the bottom grades, even from out of the handicap.
The form of the Lingfield race looks fairly solid as the winner went on to win next time out, the runner-up was beaten by a head the time before and the 3rd won a race two races prior.
Paul Webber sends him on a 400 mile round trip, and for a yard desperate for a winner, that is encouraging.
Wincanton - 1:00 pm
9/4 @ William Hill
Wincanton - 2:00 pm
17/2 @ William Hill
Huntingdon - 3:55 pm
4/1 @ William Hill
Sedgefield - 2:07 pm