Hopefully Sedgefield will survive the cold snap as the closing race on their card offers the unusual prospect of a 3m3f handicap hurdle on what should be very testing ground.
Houndscourt has to be in the mix having been second in this race last year, his form this year is patchy – terrible over fences, fair over hurdles. He could go well but at 11 years old it will be disappointing if he is the best here.
The Delray Munky will be a popular favourite having sluiced home in heavy at Ayr last time. There is a risk of short termism here, that was a tremendously impressive effort, but just two weeks prior to that she was well held over a similar marathon trip to today’s at Kelso finishing behind several of today’s rivals. The penalty for her Ayr win means she is worse off at the weights, and looks far too short in the market.
The key rivals from that Kelso run are 3rd and 4th, Broadway Belle and Turtle Cask. There was not much between them that day, and at similar weights it could be close.
We prefer the mare Broadway Belle. Not only did she finish in front last time, but the use of good 3lb claimer Callum Bewley edges the equation in her favour. Also last time jockey Brain Hughes crucially lost an iron for a few moments near the finish which had to impact the result.
Finally, we generally consider that it is tougher to give weight in trying conditions as races effectively become longer, and a marathon trip will exacerbate that. As a result, the actual weight of 10st 2lbs that Broadway Belle will be carrying could be decisive against the bigger weights.
Recommendation: Broadway Belle, (1620 Sedgefield), 1pt win, 7/2 William Hill
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