The flat racing is where the quality is today, but I'm deciding to stay away, and stick to the jumps at Bangor and the night racing at Uttoxeter.
A record of one win from the last 18 runs wouldn't convince anyone, but there's enough in the recent performances to suggest SPIRIT OF HALE can win a race of this nature.
In February he was behind Furius De Ciergues (current market fav) at Sedgefield, but finished 11 lengths in front of him on revised weights & slightly shorter trip in March. Today he is 3lb better off from the time he finished in front of him, so there's no reason to suggest a turn around this time.
Spirit Of Hale was well backed lto (100/30), when he was disappointing, but I'm prepared to look past that run.
He's on a good mark of 85, with him previously winning over C&D off 89. The forecast rain shouldn't be an issue, as his best runs have come when there's been cut in the ground.
Blinkers replaced visor, which could liven him up a little more.
BUCKSKIN was well backed at Hereford last time, but finished 5th of 9, 10 lengths behind the winner. Though the margin behind the winner might put you off backing him, the winner pulled 8 lengths clear of the field, meaning 2 lengths separated the next four.
Since then, the winner has followed up his win, with another easy 7.5 lengths success. The 2nd & 3rd horses have also won since.
Kilchreest Moon (2nd), re-opposes Buckskin today, but is 6lb worse off at the weights. The difference in odds at the time of writing suggests Buckskin has little chance of reverse the placing (3/1 compared to 14/1), which is strange as only 2.5 lengths separated them last time and he is now better at the weights than with the market favourite.
Money did come for Buckskin last time out; going off at 13/2, which was considerably shorter than the the recent three runs where he had shown nothing (80/1, 66/1 & 250/1), that gives me the impression that they think he's better than a mark of 74.
Advised: Each Way
Though only a five runner contest, this looks to be a cracker, but to see MADERA MIST at odds of 5/1 is a nice surprise.
Tim Vaughan's lightly raced 7yo chaser looks to be on the up. She ran a nice race last time out at Cheltenham, where she bumped into a well-handicapped horse of Win My Wings who bolted up by 10 lengths, and has gone up 10lbs for that performance. That was her first run over 3m 2f, and she travelled extremely well, but her stamina up the hill told as she couldn't go on with the winner. Today she drops back to 3m, and I think that will suit her.
Off 10st 7lb, she could run a big race.
12:05 Thirsk - Race: 1
12:20 Stratford - Race: 1
12:40 Thirsk - Race: 2