You certainly had a few heart stopping moments if you backed last week’s selection, Muhaarar in the July Cup. He didn’t act too well on the early downhill part of the course and got unbalanced, but once he hit the rising ground he fairly motored, and deservedly got his nose in front on the line. It’s unlikely Saturday’s Summer Plate at Market Rasen will be decided by such a narrow margin, but being such a tight and competitive handicap I guess you never know.
Having had a winner and two placed from nine runners in the past decade, David Pipe’s 6yo Dell’ Arca is worth considering. This very useful hurdler, winner of a Cl1 Gd3 contest at Cheltenham in November 2013 and rated 145 in that discipline, has had only three runs over the Larger obstacles. He came good last time when winning a 2m4f novices chase at Uttoxeter at the end of May. This ex French geldings future lies over fences, so racing off a mark on Saturday, 3lbs lower than over hurdles, he must come into the equation.
Considering the hugely talented Gordon Elliott failed to get a win out of the 8yo Flemensfirth Mare, Pumped Up Kicks, in sixteen attempts under rules, her new handler, Dan Skelton has performed miracles in producing her to win two of the three races she has contested since joining his terrifically successful operation. She was impressive when, despite making a mistake at the last, she trotted up in a Cl1 listed novices chase at Cheltenham in April, and followed up a week later at Warwick off a mark of 128. While she does seem inexperienced for Saturday’s test, she handled both Cheltenham’s and Warwick’s jumping test with aplomb, so off a mark of 132 she is shortlisted.
Jonjo O’Neill has had two wins and three placed from fourteen runners over the last ten years, and is represented by two with strong credentials in this years renewal, It’s a Gimme, and Lost Legend. Winner of last years race off a mark of 132, It’s a Gimme had just the one race ( finished 16th in the Galway Plate) before retiring for the season. He has had two runs this year and ran a very promising race last time finishing a close second over an inadequate 2m1f at Stratford off a mark of 140. Obviously going the right way, he seems to have been trained by the uber shrewd O’Neill with a repeat performance in mind, and just 3lb higher than Stratford is shortlisted.
Lost Legend has won twice over Kemptons flat right handed course so Market Rasen should suit. He last won in January ( Kemptons 2m4f sft) off a mark of 139. He has subsequently been campaigned over further and been disappointing but those defeats leaves him looking well handicapped on a mark of 141. He handles any ground so any market moves should be heeded.
The Paul Nichols trained Aerial was going well in a Perth handicap five weeks ago off a mark of 130 when coming down at the third last. He races off the same mark at the weekend, and considering that he has won off a 19lb higher mark three years ago, has to be of interest. However he hasn’t won under rules for over nineteen months, so perhaps a place is the best that can be hoped for.
Twice a course winner over hurdles, the Nicky Richards trained 6yo Gold Futures is progressing nicely over the larger obstacles. On only his second outing over fences ( Hexham 2m4f 6th June Gd ) he jumped soundly and won comfortably in a truly run race. Last time out, again at the same venue, he put up a very good performance on the clock, when jumping well, over an inadequate 2m, he was run out of it by Vodka Wells. Racing on Saturday off a mark of 130, giving him a nice racing weight of 10st7lbs, he is well worth considering.
Warren Greatrex’s Baby Mix is closely handicapped with Philip Hobbs’ Carrigmorna King but looks the more progressive of the two. At the Punchestown Festival he ran a fine race to finish second in an eighteen runner handicap chase (2m4f) and in his next race ( Stratford May 17th 2m4f) racing off a mark of 139, he was beaten 1/2L by Carrigmorna King. Now 3lbs better off with the Hobbs horse, and travelling right handed, (to which he seems particularly well suited) this progressive 7yo racing off a mark of 140 must have a great chance of being involved at the business end.
Selection: Its A Gimme
Each-way: Baby Mix