A field of eight go to post for the first race of the day at Wetherby on Thursday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Bob’s Boy has gone close on two occasions in similar races but is starting to become frustrating and this is likely best left to MOON ARROW. Michael Blake’s four year old was a good second on hurdling debut at Catterick in February after racing too keen early on and his latest effort at Hereford can be excused as he broke a blood vessel. This better ground may see him in a better light and with natural progression from that first run, he should take all the beating with Sean Corby taking off a useful 3lb.
1 BOB’S BOY – Thrice raced for Warren Greatrex and is starting to become frustrating after showing little improvement from his debut. On debut he was a good third over C&D, keeping on well to finish third but he failed to back that up when brushed aside at Bangor in January, though that race did turn out to be quite hot. His latest run at Ludlow was perhaps an improvement when behind the useful Master Blueyes and Long Call, but he still one paced. he needs more if he’s to be taking this and although the better ground should see him in a better light, he can be taken on today for a yard that is struggling for winners.
2 LORD TOPPER – Won a maiden on the flat for Charlie Hills and he was far from disgraced on hurdling debut for Jamie Snowden when forth at Huntingdon, only beaten two lengths in a close finish where he rallied well after looking beaten early on. Based on that effort perhaps he’d prefer further in time, as he was certainly outpaced when the tempo ramped up, which may well be the case again. He’s entitled to be involved nonetheless with natural improvement and has to be respected with conditions to suit.
3 MOON ARROW – Showed ability at a low grade on the flat but has come into his own over hurdles, running a very respectable race on hurdling debut when second at Catterick, keeping on well for second behind a well backed favourite after being too keen early on. His latest effort at Hereford can be ignored as he broke a blood vessel and he can resume his progress in this as any natural progression should see him highly dangerous in this with conditions to suit. Sean Corby takes off 3lb and he should take all the stopping for Michael Blake.
4 NEW LIST – Winner of a point to point bumper earlier in his career but he was soundly beaten on rules debut in a bumper over today’s distance two weeks ago. He weakened pretty tamely when asked for an effort which is of immediate concern and although he can improve for his second rules run, he’ll need to dramatically to play any sort of role in this. Possible place claims if hurdling is his bag, but others make more appeal.
5 PINWOOD – Has been running well from the front in some middle to long distance all weather races on the flat for Adam West, including an all the way success at Lingfield back in January. On his latest start he was too keen early at Kempton and paid the price when weakening towards the end, but stamina is no issue on hurdling debut and he’s not one to discount. Better ground is a slight question mark with all his turf runs with some cut in the ground, but he should go well if jumping soundly and you couldn’t say ‘no way’.
6 RAVENS HILL – No wins from eighteen rules starts, with three of those of hurdles, though you certainly couldn’t rule him out for the in form Dan Skelton yard. On his penultimate start at Ballinrobe he was a good forth in a competitive looking race over timber and if bullring upon that with conditions to suit he should be a lively danger with Harry Skelton taking the ride. He does have to overcome a 174 day absence so he would be entitled to need this, but if ready to rock and roll on seasonal debut he should go close.
7 RUSSIAN RASCAL – Seven race maiden o nthe flat who showed little to nothing for multiple yards, so it looks as though Maurice Barnes’ four year old has little to no chance of taking victory in this. Hard to gauge any ability from all of those runs and it’s also hard to see him making any impact, with the switch to hurdling needing to have an enormous effect for him to get anywhere near competitive. Avoid.
8 WYNFORD – Rated 74 on the flat with a victory to his name at Carlisle in September but he is yet to tap into that ability over timber, tailed off once and pulled up twice in this sphere thus far for David Loughnane. He tends to pull far too hard in his races and he did just that on his latest start at Ludlow, pulling like a train out the back and then jumping poorly before tailing off early on. Will be much happier down in trip but hard to make a case for him against his competitors.