The two jump meetings on Wednesday afternoon at Wetherby and Hereford provide some fairly low key midweek national hunt action. There are still plenty of winners to be found however and we have tips for two races at Wetherby, where the ground is currently soft, heavy in places, while our third selection runs at Hereford which expects conditions to stay on the soft side of good.
“Tip of the Day” - Knickerbockerglory (3.10pm Wetherby) - 5/4 with William Hill
Dan Skelton’s winner of three hurdle races looks the type to do even better over fences and is expected to prove too good for his five rivals in this handicap chase.
1.05pm Wetherby, 1m 7f - Escapeandevade (Next Best)
Top weight Mongol Emperor was underwhelming on his chasing debut here last month, finishing last of the seven runners without ever getting into the race, and is best watched for the time being. Dakota Moirette has yet to win in 26 attempts over fences, 24 of which came when trained in Ireland, while Hidor De Bersy runs for the first time over fences following a break of over seven months.
Ritson is another who made little impression on his chasing debut at Hexham earlier in the month, which leaves ESCAPEANDEVADE and Parliament Hill as the two to concentrate on. The latter, two from four over hurdles, showed some promise when having his first start over fences at Fontwell three weeks ago, without looking confident over the bigger obstacles.
While the James Ewart-trained Escapeandevade has his first chase start under rules, the Westerner gelding ran in six point-to-points in Ireland, winning the last by ten lengths before joining current connections towards the end of last year. An easy winner over hurdles at Ayr back in January, the mount of Brian Hughes ran well in defeat on his other two starts, at Wetherby and Kelso, jumping well on both occasions, and the six-year-old looks the type to make his mark over fences, especially off an opening handicap mark of 120.
2.50pm Hereford, 3m 1f - Family Pot (Each Way) (Longshot)
A 5lb rise for winning a four-runner handicap chase at Plumpton on his debut over fences does not look too harsh for the Joe Tizzard-trained Atakan, who could well follow up. While Pass Me By, who finished an encouraging second on his chasing debut, also merits respect as Richard Bandey’s charge is open to plenty of improvement.
Both horses have been well found in the early betting exchanges however, so at a double-figure price the each-way value may lie with the Sheila Lewis-trained bottom weight FAMILY POT (e.w.). The seven-year-old races from 2lb out of the handicap but Sean Houlihan’s mount has done enough to suggest the grey can be competitive here from a rating of 82.
The gelding was running well around this time last year off higher marks, including when recording a victory at Ludlow as well as finishing a fine third in a 14-runner handicap over today’s course and distance back in early January. Following a break of 150 days, Family Pot won an amateur jockeys’ contest at Ludlow last month before finishing third at Hereford on his most recent start. In receipt of between 6lb and two stone from his rivals, the son of Monitor Closely can make the frame at the very least.
3.10pm Wetherby, 1m 7f - Knickerbockerglory (Nap)
It may have only been a match that the Dan Skelton-trained KNICKERBOCKERGLORY won on his chasing debut at Ffos Las earlier in the month, and against an opponent who made several mistakes, but the three-time hurdle winner has always looked the type to make up into a decent chaser and with that run under his belt, is fancied to continue his progression over fences.
The Fame And Glory gelding made most of the running to win hurdle races at Taunton, Ludlow and Perth earlier in the year, jumping well each time, and if similar tactics are employed here, the mount of Harry Skelton should prove too good for his rivals, the best of which is probably top weight Adrimel who has won following a break in the past but ran poorly first time out last season.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.