A welcome 3/1 win double at Punchestown yesterday when repeat win-seekers, Wings Like Arion and Poormans Hill both duly obliged in workmanlike and effortless style respectively.
We are back to a simple win single in the UK today, and specifically on the quagmire that is the Leicester hurdles track.
The 2m4f handicap, (1345), offers an interesting prospect. Market leader Du Soleil is clearly tempting as a lightly raced youngster from the Venetia Williams yard that often does well at this time of the year on the very soft ground. That said, the defining characteristic of his runs to date has been a free going style, and this step up of 4f doesn’t look the answer.
His task is made more difficult by the opposition of two tried and tested course and distance winners.
Hit the Highway has won here on both starts and well relish the heavy ground. He should have won on seasonal debut this year but for unseating at the last. The big question is whether subsequent disappointing runs have been the result of a higher rating and stringer opposition or a tailing off of form. He could try to make all, on balance, caution suggests that we should have seen better of late to trust him here.
That leaves Henry Daly’s useful 7yo Head To The Stars. He has a win and a second in two course visits and was a tidy winner on heavy ground over this trip at Wincanton last time. That was a decent effort after a promising but non-staying run at Sandown over 3 miles the time before. He has been raised 5lbs to a mark of 127, but that looks reasonable, and his regular amateur jockey continues to claim a useful 7lbs. He looks the solid choice.
Recommendation: Head To The Stars, (1345 Leicester), 1pt win, 11/4 Ladbrokes, Coral
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