Steve Hughes looks at two of the best races on offer on Wednesday, a jump race and an All Weather contest on the flat
Amidst a series of modest maidens on the card, Lingfield stages a decent handicap for 3yo’s where the bottom weight looks hard to beat. There is also a good hurdle at Southwell where an in-form chaser can translate his form to the smaller obstacles. Our recent winner-a-day ration continued on Tuesday with Harlequin Striker a 5/1 (SP) winner at Epsom.
Lingfield 4.00: Talawat
Trainer Marco Botti has been improving his string in recent seasons, but what has always been notable is how many of his horses act well on an artificial surface. In Talawat he has a filly who has only raced on the All Weather to date and clearly acts well on Polytrack.
She was very green on her first two starts, proving hard to steer when fourth here on debut, but then overcoming her wandering to win at Wolverhampton next time. It was interesting that she was well backed into favouritism for her handicap debut at Chelmsford last time, however she found Martlet 4l too good as she could only finish second there.
However Martlet has franked the form in no uncertain style by since winning a listed race at York’s recent Ebor meeting and I was impressed by the strong travelling manner of the selection. In a race in which several of the field like to force the pace, that ability to keep up a high cruising speed could be a factor and she will be continuing to learn from her previous racecourse experiences.
Southwell 4.10: Brave Spartacus
Trainer Keith Reveley has frequently managed to keep a horse on a winning run by varying its races between hurdling and chasing, the game Robbie being such an example in recent seasons. However Brave Spartacus has enjoyed a stellar 2015 with three wins already over both types of obstacles and a return to hurdling is worth another shot today.
The 9yo had shown massive improvement at the start of 2013 over fences, before picking up an injury at the Aintree Festival. After a couple of races to get back into the hang of racing last autumn, connections opted to regain his confidence with a spell hurdling to take advantage of a massively lower mark. That was ultimately to pay dividends with wins at Sedgefield, Catterick and Newcastle over around 2m, albeit in a lower grade.
However he returned to chasing in the spring and fine third places at Ayr and Market Rasen was followed last time out by his career best effort to win a listed handicap chase at Market Rasen by an authoritative 7l having made most of the running. A natural pacesetter he should not be bothered much early on by the opposition here and he can dominate on this sharp track. His hurdles mark remains no less than 15lb lower than his chase rating so there is still room for more to come in this sphere.
1pt win – Talawat – 4.00 Lingfield – 11/4 general
1pt win – Brave Spartacus – 4.10 Southwell – 100/30 Bet365, BetVictor, Coral