Heavy rain is forecast for Carlisle, and conditions are sure to be very testing for this afternoon’s card.
Well Above Par won the concluding 2m 4f handicap chase first time out last season for Lucinda Russell and makes his seasonal reappearance from the same mark this afternoon. He has had a wind operation over the summer and looks overpriced.
If Big Changes copes with the ground, he will be very difficult to beat, having looked well ahead of his mark when scoring at Ayr last time. A 10lbs rise is unlikely to prevent him from landing his hat-trick, but he is too short in the betting (6/4) for one unproven on soft/heavy ground.
Well Above Par’s stablemate WITHOUT CONVICTION is a previous winner on heavy ground and made a pleasing comeback under conditional Alan Doyle at Hexham last time. It is likely that stable jockey Derek Fox had the choice of mounts, and he has gone for Well Above Par, but I just favour his stablemate, who gets the each-way vote.
The ground was described as good at Kempton on Sunday morning, but there is significant rain forecast, and I would suggest it is likely to be good to soft come post time.
Point winner Blackcauseway certainly has the physique of a chaser, but he has been put in plenty short enough in the betting (2/1) for one who would like a sound surface.
My two against the field are Stormy Flight and SHERBORNE, with a preference for the latter making his chase debut. The Tizzard yard had a disappointing couple of days at Exeter/Wincanton, which tempers confidence slightly, but I am convinced this inmate is well handicapped, and he is reported by his trainer “to jump a fence nicely.”
He was campaigned exclusively over the minimum trip over hurdles, but there seems no reason today’s step-up in trip will not be within his compass.
Stormy Flight didn’t show much in his sole previous chase start, but he is well-treated on his best form and was the early market mover – 8s into 11/2 with William Hill.
Just the nine races at Dunstall Park for this afternoon/evening’s card, and in the 5f Novice event I hope to see the filly THE BIG BOARD make all for Richard Hannon from her plum draw in stall one.
The selection has yet to race at the minimum trip or on an all-weather surface but should be suited by the drop in distance given her running style, and she can add to her Leicester Maiden win from the summer. Sean Levey keeps the ride.
Another filly, the maiden Pure Angel, receives 4lbs from the selection, and she should have the race run to suit, given she is likely to stalk The Hannon juvenile. She might get to her quarters, but I hope to see The Big Board fend off all challengers in the short home straight.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.
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