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THE JUMPS racing really takes over from here on so its time to look out your tweed and adopt a double-barrelled name as we dive headlong into the weird and wonderful world of National Hunt racing.
Today there are jumps meetings at Ascot, Ayr and Wetherby in the UK and there is also a great card at Down Royal across the Irish Sea.
Partly because the ground isn’t as soft as many trainers would like there is a shortage of runners in some races so we have to adjust our thinking a bit and accept that some shorter prices can still be value in smaller fields.
When entries came out for this it looked like a fantastic field but the ground isn’t soft enough for most of them so we are now down to only 4 runners. DEFINITLY RED is the one that looks the value to me at the prices. He has arguably the best form in the race and has a decent record on his first start of the season.
He would probably prefer softer ground but good ground is no disaster for him and I can see him outstaying our old pal Black Corton who is too short to back today at the prices.
This is a competitive handicap and there are plenty with chances but I was surprised to see JUMPING JACK lurking at the bottom of the betting at a big price. He is a horse I have thought a fair bit of over the last year or so and he won a maiden nicely last time out. This is a much tougher race but he is only a 4 year old and is open to lots of improvement this season and I just think that 20-1 is too big a price.
Of the shorter prices Divin Bere could be very well handicapped after a wind op recently.
3.05pm Down Royal
A fascinating race this one with some classy novice chasers from last year returning to compete in open company. Monalee performed well at Cheltenham in the RSA but definitely has real question marks over his jumping so I can’t be backing him at short prices.
Shattered Love was tempting at the prices but she seems like a horse that blows hot and cold and perhaps really needs to be targeted at a particular race which is unlikely to be this race on seasonal debut.
My old pal SNOW FALCON has developed into a lovely chaser and is the one that I am going to side with. He is quite consistent and his jumping has really improved as he showed when winning the Kerry National in September. I think he can kick on again this season and prove himself to be a top level staying chaser.