Author: Tony MacDonald
Published: 09:24 31/01/2014
The ever-improving Hartforth can defy a steep rise in the weights to score again today in the Watt Fences Handicap Hurdle at 3.20 Catterick.
Campbonnais heads the market for this race at 9/4 after scoring on his re-appearance over 2m4f at Fakenham just last week, but this could come too soon and his most recent efforts over an extended trip are hardly worth getting excited about.
Hartforth didn't have the best of it last season and a couple of tries on the flat in the summer didn't work out either, but he has come to life in his last four starts. The Donald Whillians-trained gelding was held up before surging through the pack to land a 3m hurdle at Hexham in October and went close when runner-up over an extra furlong at Ayr on Heavy ground in November. The six-year-old again found one too good at Carlisle, but had plenty in the tank when forging clear on Soft ground over 3m1f at Musselburgh earlier this month and should stay the distance today.
Skybet are quoting stand out odds of 11/1 about Hartforth and although he has gone up 12lbs for that runaway success, he had plenty in reserve and more improvement is likely today. Never out of the places in his last four starts and having ran well in similar conditions in the last two outings, Hartforth won't mind the soft ground today and looks one to side with at generous odds.
Hartforth 11/1 E/W (Skybet)