Steve Hughes has a best bet for each of today’s British jumps fixtures
Plenty of runners to choose from today with the going more expected of winter jumps fixtures. I have two sporting selections from handicaps at Exeter and Uttoxeter. We had a mixed day on Saturday but the victory of Caid Du Lin (advised 22/1) ensured a tidy profit.
Exeter 1.50: Royal Palladium
First time out has generally been the time to catch Royal Palladium and as such I am taking the opportunity for a bet today on the Venetia Williams trained 10yo.
His last two seasonal reappearances have come over this course and distance. In 2016 he won this very race off a mark 2lbs higher than today, whilst last year he was a more than respectable third in a stronger race than this one.
His form tends to tail off very quickly though as the season progresses and he was pulled up on his two subsequent starts last season. This is not the strongest race for the grade, with plenty of these horses out of form. If Royal Palladium is as far forward as normal then for his first start, he must have sound claims.
Uttoxeter 2.40: Ocean Cove
This race largely revolves around whether Notwhatiam can continue his upward curve since joining Dan Skelton. However he did not find much off the bridle when winning here last month and I am not willing to take a short price about the 8yo. Instead the unexposed Ocean Cove provides a value alternative.
Ocean Cove has made just the five appearances over hurdles and made the first three in all four starts last season. That included a win in a highly competitive handicap at Ayr’s Scottish National meeting in April. He improved with every start and although the ground is on the soft side, he will handle anything that is not too extreme.
He was thrown in at the deep end for his reappearance in a Pertemps qualifier at Newbury recently and was not disgraced in ninth, although he was bumped at a crucial time on the home turn. He will be sharper for today and this race certainly represents a less competitive target. He also has the benefit of a potential future star jockey in Connor Brace being on board and being able to claim 7lbs.
1pt win – Royal Palladium – 1.50 Exeter – 4/1 general
1pt each-way – Ocean Cove – 2.40 Uttoxeter – 11/2 Betfred, Totesport