Steve Hughes has two evening selections for Thursday covering a chase at Ffos Las and a staying handicap on the flat at Kempton.
Unseasonably soft ground will have to be encountered by the horses competing at Ffos Las today and the 3m chase on the card is likely to go to the strongest stayer. I have a selection that also has a nice light weight to carry around. Meanwhile a stable in form has another fancied runner at Kempton. Two Moons got us back to winning ways at Southwell yesterday (advised 6/1)
Kempton 7.55: Dark Ranger
Tim Pitt is enjoying a welcome resurgence this season having moved to new stables recently, but in Dark Ranger he has a horse that has kept him going during a few lean years and on the evidence of this season the 8yo seems as good as ever.
He also has a decent record on the All Weather, having landed his first two career victories at Lingfield as a 3yo, and then most recently achieved a course and distance win last July. Indeed since connections realised he was best at long distances his record over 2m here reads 722212.
We did not see him again after his win last year, until making his seasonal reappearance back at this track in April. Considering his long absence he did extremely well to finish second to Presto Volante (the horse he beat last season) and he has only gone up a pound in the weights for that. Since that run he has performed with credit on fast ground turf at Newmarket, placing fifth in a class 2 handicap over an inadequate 14f. Given his strong course and distance record, he looks a solid each-way bet at current prices.
Ffos Las 8.05: Carloswayback
Paul Henderson has done well over the past couple of seasons with recruits from Ireland and in Carloswayback he looks to have a ready made winner, having brought this horse over from the Paul Nolan yard.
The gelding competed in several graded novice hurdles early in his career, and whilst he was not up to that level, he certainly showed plenty of ability. He initially translated that form well to fences, finishing third in a competitive 3m beginners chase to Start Me up at Navan, before going on to post a victory over 2m4f at Punchestown on heavy going. Third in a Grade 2 at Navan after that, he rather lost his way when sent handicapping, but was though highly enough of to compete in the 2013 version of the Irish National.
A spell hunting seems to have rekindled his enthusiasm and he was an easy winner of a Point in February before running two respectable races under rules in March. His first run for Henderson came here at the beginning of May and it was a fairly inauspicious start as he was pulled up behind Dark Glacier. He was badly hampered early on and so he might be better judged on his run at Wincanton last time where he cruised into contention only to unseat his jockey four out. His current mark of 113 puts him very well in on the best of his Irish form and it looks interesting that Richard Johnson takes over today from an inexperienced amateur.
1pt each-way – Dark Ranger – 7.55 Kempton (10/1 Coral)
1pt win – Carloswayback – 8.05 Ffos Las (13/2 Paddy Power)