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Firstly, I hope Grivetana and Olive Nicholls are okay after their nasty-looking fall. The horse was well beaten when it happened and I just cannot believe how this horse has gone downhill so quickly. It's a bit baffling to see a horse placed in Class 1 company to then struggle off a much lower mark in much easier races, maybe the love for the game has gone, which would be strange as she is only a five-year-old.
Taunton 12:17 – Abbeyhill 6/4 (1pt, Bet365)
This is a competitive race on paper, you have some recent winners taking their place, and you have some horses with decent form, but I ended up on the bottom weight Abbeyhill to make it a second win in just 10 days.
This horse showed an improved level of form when stepping up to 3m 1f last time at Plumpton. Dylan Whelan had a double handful when turning for home as the horse was travelling all over the others in the race, he showed a nice tenacious attitude to battle with the runner-up, showing he really does stay 3m and slightly further, but also looking ahead of the handicapper at the same time. The front two pulled miles clear of the third and the form looks solid with the runner-up doing the business at Chepstow when beating my selection last week, so it's hard to go against Neil Mulholland's horse under a penalty, which is effectively just 3lbs, and he is clearly still miles ahead of the handicapper and with Dylan claiming 7lbs that puts the horse under 10st which he has to carry.
Izzy's Grey is a very interesting runner, the form from his most recent run has been franked on multiple occasions and he has since transferred yards and owners. I think he is a horse who could be ahead of his handicap mark, but I think it's unfortunate that they'll be bumping into Abbeyhill, who if repeating the form of last time out, will be tough to beat, especially with the weight differences between both horses.
Musselburgh 11:55 – Ottizzini 11/8 (2pt)
In all honesty, it would be very surprising if Ottizzini does get beaten in this race as she is the horse in the race with proven form, and those with a rating she rates at the top, so there's not much to go against her.
She has already won a maiden hurdle over 2m 6f over in Ireland, and those races are much deeper than the races over in the UK, so she did very well to win that. The form of the race looks good as the Gordon Elliott horse back in 3rd has since come out and won with plenty to spare on handicap debut, and has been put up to a 120 rating, he was 10.5L behind Ottizzini when they met. The runner-up was from the Willie Mullins stable, so chances are that he'll be a decent enough horse when they decide to send him racing this season. The Cromwell horse back in 4th has since finished in the places on all three of his next starts.
Stuart Crawford clearly rates this mare as he has put her in Class 1 company on two occasions, she finished 5th/8 at Punchestown, recording an RPR of 120. That looked like a tough race on paper, and it was, but the form has worked out nicely. She was in a Grade 3 on her first start this season, over 2m 1f, which is too short for her, but it would've been to blow away the cobwebs more than anything and I think they've found nice opportunity for her today.
Ben Bromley seems like the go-to man for the Crawford stable at the minute and they combined on the weekend with a winner at Haydock.
Musselburgh 2:45 – The Ferry Man 12/1 (0.5pt EW, SkyBet 4pl)
Sandy Thomson hasn't been sending out many horses over the summer and at the start of the new jumps season, but he has been firing out a few more over the last week or so and his horses seem to be in great form, so the fact that The Ferry Man is as well-handicapped as he is, I think he is worth a small EW play.
Sandy has had two winners from six runners, with a further three finishing as runner-up, so his stable is flying at the moment and when you consider The Ferry Man was once rated as high as 134 in February 2021, his current mark of 110 looks fascinating. This horse won off today's mark in May, but has since chucked in a few stinkers, but his mark has since come down to that winning mark and he had a blow out at 50/1 on the back of his wind-op, so it was clearly just a fitness run. With that run under his belt, he looks like a good EW play in this race. It is a tough race, but with that it's allowed him to run off a good racing weight of 10st 13lbs which is the second bottom weight.
Taunton - 12:17 pm
6/4 @ Bet365
Musselburgh - 11:55 am
11/8 @ Bet365
Musselburgh - 2:45 pm