Steve Hughes has two selections from Stratford on Sunday
It is a fairly “run-of-the-mill” Sunday in Britain with three meetings at a relatively modest level. Stratford stages the best action with a couple of quality handicaps meriting further attention. We had a successful Saturday with wins for Emotionless (SP 11/4) and More Bucks (advised 12/1) plus an each-way placing for Coeur de Lion (advised 12/1).
Stratford 3.35: Vosne Romanee
In a race where a strong gallop throughout looks assured, this looks best left to the top weight Vosne Romanee.
A horse with a high level of form over hurdles, especially in big fields where he enjoyed the strong gallops – he was fourth in a Scottish Champion Hurdle and finished second at Cheltenham previously. He is also very much a fast ground specialist so will enjoy the ground conditions here.
His record around this sharp, left-handed track is a perfect 2-2, albeit in weakish contests and he won with plenty to spare a couple of weeks ago. The one worry I have is that he did take a couple of fences to warm up that day and he will need to be in touch early because I would expect the likes of Festive Affair, Lord Ben and Theflyingportrait to go hard from the start. If he can lie up then his natural pace at the end of a race can take him past those pace-setters who might soften each other up.
Stratford 4.30: Lillian
The winner of this race on last year’s card Lillian looks to be peaking to produce a peak performance this afternoon.
She had a busy campaign last summer winning three times over extreme trips, culminating in a win in this contest off a mark of 119. The handicapper probably had her in his grip thereafter, but she has been easing down the weights after defeats in her last four races and is now only 3lb higher than that last win.
I thought her last effort was quite encouraging at Newton Abbot in a race where they crawled around for the most part. Her stamina kicked in too late as she finished off strongly into a close fifth and hopefully they will go a more suitable gallop today which will help massively.
1pt win – Vosne Romanee – 3.55 Stratford – 11/8 Paddy Power
0.75pts each-way – Lillian – 4.30 Stratford – 8/1 Ladbrokes, Corals (1/5 odds first 3)