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PP Control & Automation Handicap Hurdle (Class Three)
A fraction shy of three miles awaits these handicap hurdlers who have a weight range of twenty-two pounds on official ratings and an age range of four all the way up to nine, so potential versus experience. Read on for our full race preview and tip for the 7.00pm at Worcester Tuesday evening.
IN SUMMARY: Not the easiest race to call but if LUCCOMBE DOWN (Each Way) can reproduce his Haydock fourth to Mia’s Storm in a far better race he would have an outstanding chance of success here. His stable are in good sorts which is a bonus, and he looks solid each way value with the much younger Buckle Street perhaps his biggest danger.
1 ROLLING MAUL – One win from one run here at this track for Peter Bowen’s nine-year-old and he stays this and further which has to be encouraging for his supporters. Add the stable form of two from eleven in the last two weeks (18%) and a recent maiden win on the flat at Bath to put him spot on for this evening and he seems sure to have his fans in the betting market, though he has never won carrying this sort of weight (eleven stone twelve) or off a rating this high (132), and will need a career best to win here even with the excellent Sean Bowen in the saddle.
2 MR SHANTU – Last seen unseating Aidan Coleman over fences at Cheltenham back in April, and reverts to the smaller obstacles here. Last seen over hurdles with a sixty-seven length fifth at Cartmel when tailed off and only dropped two pounds for that, Jonjo O’Neill’s charge needs to do a lot better but has won four times over hurdles including over course and distance in June 2015, but never off this sort of weight and as he arrives here with a bit to prove it may be best to look elsewhere.
3 SLIM PICKENS – Dr Richard Newland can do little wrong lately with two winners from five runners in the last two weeks for a 40% strike rate and he will be hoping to add to that here with this son of Craigsteel. Off the track from November 2015 to this May, his trainer did an outstanding job to have him ready enough to win on his return at Hexham albeit only a seller, and he hasn’t been disgraced finishing second in each of his three races since. Last time out here at Worcester over two and a half miles he was beaten a neck by Doubly Clever, running on strongly after a mistake at the sixth, and although he weakened badly on his only other try at this trip, he looks well worth another try in this company and with his jockey’s seven pound claim he could go close.
4 DRIFTWOOD HAZE – South Glamorgan trainer Phillip Dando is hard to gauge with zero runners in the last two weeks, and has his work cut out to get this nine-year-old to win his third race on his eighteenth start. His last victory was over two and three quarter miles at Ffos Las on soft ground in April last year but he has placed three times in his nine races since, but was beaten twenty-seven lengths in a better race off the same rating over this trip at Haydock last time out in Amy and could need the handicapper to drop him a few pounds before he becomes fully competitive again, though a place may not be totally beyond him.
5 LUCCOMBE DOWN – Seven runs and close to a year since his last win but he is coming down the weights and won’t find many better opportunities than he has this evening, The Fergal O’Brien stable are once again in great form with three wins from their last fifteen runners for a 20% success rate, and if that well-being transfers to the seven-year-old gelding this evening he won’t be far away if he can reproduce any of his better form.
6 BUCKLE STREET – Clearly one of the more intriguing runners here and one to consider seriously. Trainer Marin Keighley has his horses running well with two wins from just the six recent runners (33%) for a level stakes profit of over five points, and as the gelding is only four years old, he has more room for improvement than any of his rivals. One win and four places from ten starts show plenty of ability but interestingly this will be his first race over hurdles over further than two miles three furlongs and on breeding (by Cacique out of an Act One mare) he is not sure to stay, but if he does he could yet be a major player with Andrew Tinkler in the saddle.
7 A BOY NAMED SUZI – Likely to be near to the head of the early markets after running really well over course and distance last time out after taking up the running perhaps a bit too soon and being swamped by the winner close home. If Harry Skelton can hold on to him a little longer here, and he makes less mistakes, then he won’t be far away today in similar class over the same C&D and off the same handicap rating.
8 MIGHTY MISSILE – Three wins over hurdles so far have been over two miles and half a furlong (twice) and two and a half miles at Wincanton in April but this will be his second try at this sort of trip having been pulled up over three miles at Taunton when tailed off in April. Bottom weight of ten stone four may make it that bit easier for him to get home here but his stamina is clearly an issue and even with Richard Johnson in the saddle, he seems hard to make a serious case for.