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Saturday's selections were well below par, even the gambled on ones, which was annoying but it happens in racing. Hopefully, we have better luck today.
It took this lad four years to find his second win over rules when he managed to win last time out at Kilbeggan, but there are reasons to believe his third win won't take as long to come. He beat a horse called Definite Plan by 6L last time, and that horse has done wonders since and has franked the form massively.
Since Gordon Elliot has returned to training, his horses who were previously trained by Denise Forster (whilst he was banned) have improved bundles, including Definite Plan. That horse won at Cheltenham last weekend, winning a Class 2 race, which produced an RPR of 140 and the winner received £31,000. Like I mentioned previously, the selection easily put him in his place, and that was after a 100 day layoff for Spades Are Trumps, whilst the runner-up was race fit.
The ground which he'll encounter today will be testing ground, and I think that's what connections will be hoping for. He won on yielding ground last time at Kilbeggan, but he's been withdrawn on ground which was deemed to be good, so they must feel that he prefers ground with a little juice. This is a new trip for him, but the way he powered clear over 3m 1f gave the impression that the extra yardage would be within his reach, and possibly bring out more improvement. He has only been raised 3lbs for that win, so the handicapper has definitely given him a chance of following up.
A step up in trip and on stamina sapping ground should be right up the street of JUGE ET PARTI. Since going over fences this horse has seen his form jump to a whole new level, and his strike rate over the larger obstacles definitely suggests that he prefers this to hurdling, which he wasn't bad at either.
James Ewart bought this lad for £20,000 in May and he returned the favour when winning on stable debut at Perth in the middle of the Summer, which produced a career best run. That day he showed the fact he is a strong stayer, and a longer trip would probably see him improve again, which is why I think today's extra 2f will suit him. The ground is clearly something which he needs, so the fact that Carlisle should be expecting some rain and the ground is already deemed to be soft, is a positive.
This race offers a decent prize of £13,008 so I get the impression that this race has been the plan for connections for some while. We have already seen what James can do when he targets one at a race, as we saw with the winning selection Empire De Maulde who won for us last weekend, winning a decent pot at Kelso, and I think he will have Juge Et Parti primed for this race.
A fair amount of the opposition seem to prefer better ground, or are probably in the grips of the handicapper, so I think this is a perfect race for the selection. The other horse which might be fancied by the punters is Hold That Thought who might enjoy the longer trip, and anytime the ground is testing, Venetia Williams' horses are well supported.