Steve Hughes has a couple of selections for Saturday
A shame that Sandown has fallen by the wayside, so attention pre-Cheltenham turns to the flat with a big All Weather meeting at Wolverhampton. I have a selection for the opener, the traditional Lincoln Handicap trial, but the best bet comes over hurdles at Ayr.
Wolverhampton 1.35: Fox Power & Assimilation
I think it is worth having two goes in this cracking All Weather handicap.
Fox Power is an obvious favourite having finished strongly to good effect over course and distance last time in a conditions race. I suspect he will be favoured by a faster tempo in this bigger field and he is 9lbs better off with the winner Via Serendipity for a half-length defeat. He clearly acts on an artificial surface as he won a listed contest at Newcastle last Easter.
Assimilation is of interest for each-way punters. He ran no more than respectably in three races at the Dubai Carnival, but the Meydan track is a dirt based surface that he may not have handled. Instead look at his form on sand over here in the autumn. He won his last two starts, over 7f here and a mile at Chelmsford. He is only up 3lbs for that last win and whilst this is a step up in class, the handicapper might not have got hold of him yet.
Ayr 3.05: The Con Man
A big strapping future chaser, The Con Man has had a nice introductory season to rules racing over hurdles this season and should take the beating in Ayr’s feature.
The 7yo was a winner of a 3m point on testing going last season and has shown a preference for winter ground this season. He was made favourite for a valuable handicap at Ascot last time, but got outpaced turning for home before running home in promising fashion late. Down slightly in grade today he should find this in calmer waters.
Prior to that he had won well at Kelso over 2m5f and has improved with each run. I prefer him to Whoshotthesheriff, who might be vulnerable at this trip on the soft going and Eternally Yours who has disappointed in two runs this term in an interrupted campaign.
1pt win – Fox Power – 1.35 Wolverhampton – 13/8 general
0.5pts each-way – Assimilation – 1.35 Wolverhampton – 14/1 Bet365
2pts win – The Con Man – 3.05 Ayr – 3/1 general