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The good run of form continued on Saturday as the only tip of the day won with plenty in hand. Empire De Maulde went off at 13/8 after being tipped up at 10/3 and it was apparent that he was well handicapped. Finger's crossed that the form continues with Sunday's selection.
Though backing horses who won the exact same race 12 months ago doesn't always work out, I do think that the defending champion of this race is the one they have to beat. MINELLACELEBRATION won this race last year off the same handicap mark by 14 lengths and he found it extremely easy. Since then, his form has been a bit hit and miss, but a return to this track is a big positive as he has three times at the Merseyside track before.
This race would have been the long term target for this horse for some time, as like I just mentioned, he runs this track very well and it's a decent prize pot on offer (£15,609), plus the fact he won this race last year. The same can't be said about the others in this race, and I think it is a good starting point for the majority of the other horses in the race, who will have targets further down the line. Even though the selection comes off a 119 day absence, he runs well when fresh, as shown by winning four times from big absences including last years win in this race. The others in the race who come back from a layoff don't have the same level of form when they make their seasonal reappearance, so there is a strong chance that they will need the run.
The horse who is a bit of an unknown is Wishing And Hoping. He could be the dark horse in this race, and it's hard to weigh up his form as he's been competing in Hunters' Chases, which uses amateur riders. It's interesting that connections of that horse bring him back into a handicap. The other horse who is interesting is Rolling Dylan. He is obviously well handicapped from his older exploits, but he returns to Phillip Hobbs' yard after a brief spell running in PTPs. Phillip Hobbs is in good form and he runs off quite a low weight, so it will be intriguing to see how he acts in the market.
19:00 Wolverhampton - Race: 7
19:30 Wolverhampton - Race: 8
11:40 Lingfield - Race: 1