Steve Hughes looks ahead to Plumpton’s big race, the Sussex National
Just the one remaining fixture in Britain at Plumpton. However it is one of the big day’s of the year at the southern track, featuring the Sussex National. We had a solid Saturday with victory for Sheriff (SP 5/2), but the highlight were placed efforts for each-way selections Alfie Spinner (33/1) and Final Nudge (12/1).
Plumpton 2.05: Back to Blact
Trainer Robert Walford is enjoying a cracking season, already just two behind his career best winners total. I have seen enough in Back to Blact’s performances to indicate a win is close for this hurdler too.
Having made no show in one race last season, he was a 100/1 shot for his return at Exeter in November. However he travelled smoothly into the race until fading in the home straight. The raw ability is clearly there, it has just been a case of getting the experience into him and qualifying him for handicaps.
He was never going to have the pace at 2m to cope at Chepstow next time, but there was significant market support before his last run back at Exeter – his handicap debut. Again he travelled well until fading up the hill, so perhaps a drop back to a sharper track will see him finish off the race more strongly.
Plumpton 2.35: Coolking
The past two seasons have been very much all or nothing for Coolking. However the common denominator in whether the 11yo performs well or badly is the going – the softer the better for the gelding and conditions are right for him for the first time this season.
Since the start of last year Coolking has run four times on good-to-soft conditions with results of 5PPP – including all three starts this season. He simply has not been quick enough to keep up. However he had a cracking mid-winter last term winning three times in a row on heavy going, including the Surrey National over this same trip at Lingfield.
Those three runs this season have at least served to drop him back down the handicap and he has a nice low weight today. Coolking is best going from the front and looking through the line up there does not appear to be too much competition for the lead so there is every chance Josh Moore can get the old boy out in front and into a nice rhythm. Father Gary is very adept at prepping one for a big day, and this race is likely to have been mapped out for some time.
0.75pts each-way – Back to Blact – 2.05 Plumpton – 15/2 general
0.75pts each-way – Coolking – 2.35 Plumpton – 12/1 Ladbrokes, Coral, Boylesports