Steve Hughes has two selections for Festival eve on Monday
We have lost the traditional curtain raiser to Cheltenham at nearby Stratford, but Taunton still stages some good jumping. However for a second selection I am going for the best race on sand tonight at Chelmsford. We had a winning nap on Sunday with Talk of the South (advised 7/2).
Taunton 3.40: Regal Flow
There are probably more talented horses in this line up than Regal Flow, but none more straight forward or consistent than the 11yo, so he gets my vote for Taunton’s longest race of the season.
He has looked as good as ever of late, winning on very testing ground at Wincanton over Christmas before running the progressive Another Venture to a length at Hereford on his last outing. That proves his liking for a right-handed track, but his record at Taunton itself is excellent, albeit from a few seasons back, reading 2132.
I don’t foresee any stamina issues even though this is his longest distance faced as Taunton is a sharp track and he has always seen out 3m1f strongly, even winning at Cheltenham a couple of years back.
Chelmsford 6.45: Qaffaal
Although he is without a win since landing this very race twelve months ago, Qaffaal has been in consistent form all winter and has had excuses for many of his defeats.
He has an excellent course record with three wins and four places from eight starts, improving to 3-4 over this mile trip which seems to be his optimum. He also likes a strong pace to run off, but has not always had that of late, such as when fifth at Wolverhampton last month.
Since then he has stayed on strongly to be fourth over 7f at Newcastle, but with the extra furlong today and enough front-runners to ensure a solid gallop, this looks the right time for Qaffaal to strike again.
1pt win – Regal Flow – 3.40 Taunton – 4/1 general
1pt win – Qaffaal – 6.45 Chelmsford – 9/4 Skybet, Betfred, Totesport