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It was a profitable day on Saturday with just the three selections, which saw us get a place and a win. Forward Plan was surprisingly happy to see the reduction of fences at Doncaster. I didn't think that was going to be ideal as it normally makes it into a strong stamina test, which I thought would suit Mister Coffey, but Forward Plan showed a nice turn of foot and enough stamina in reserve to fend off the Henderson horse.
Carlisle 12:25 – Our Follet 4/1 (1pt)
I really do believe Blue Fin is on a good handicap mark, but carrying 12st isn't an ideal scenario when coming against other unexposed horses over fences.
I thought it was worth taking a chance on Our Follet who makes his chase debut for Richard Hobson and has Gavin Sheehan in the saddle. This horse has an interesting profile, which might not appear to be that way for most, but he was clearly a well-regarded juvenile for the Hobson and Rubicon team, as he went off 4/6F on hurdles debut which saw him depart early into the race. The money arrived for him again on his second run where he was battered into third place by finishing 23L behind the winner. However, it all clicked at Ffos Las when he cruised through the race and won by an easy 7L.
Though he hasn't run over fences, I really do like the angle of trainers/connections sending horses over fences on handicap debut and that is what they are doing. Not only that, but he has had a prep run in France, strangely enough, and that would've blown away any cobwebs he had from over the summer months. His opening handicap mark is probably slightly inflated, but that's normally the case when juveniles get their marks as they receive weight from all around for the weight-for-age allowances, he's no longer a juvenile but as a 4yo going over fences he get an okay amount of weight from the others.
Based on his pedigree he was always going to be a better chaser than hurdler, so it's not a surprise to see them send him over the larger obstacles at the earliest possible point. Richard Hobson doesn't send too many horses to Carlisle and his horses have been in good form in recent weeks, shown by Fugitif winning the big handicap at Cheltenham on Saturday. Gavin Sheehan goes to Carlisle for the one ride, which is noticeable.
Carlisle - 12:25 pm