2.00pm Wetherby Tips & Betting Preview 21/02/2017

A 13-runner handicap kicks off the card at Wetherby on Tuesday. See our full race preview and our betting tips below.

IN SUMMARY:  Market support for either Minella Suite or Noble Galileo would be interesting in this race but the vote goes to GASOLINE. Ian Williams thrives with his handicappers and he is just the type to really step up now entered into a handicap for the first time. Off a 74-day break, he has been given time since his last run and he may be able to improve past his main rivals here on better ground.

1 MINELLA SUITE – Rose Dobbin’s six-year-old makes his first start in handicap company today off a mark of 100. He has been very well beaten on all four starts to date, getting no closer than 30 lengths to the winner on each occasion. He is sure to fare much better now switched to handicaps and Lorcan Murtagh takes a sizeable 8lbs off the top weight. There is likely more to come with his eyes now set on more achievable targets.

2 PERTUIS – It’s been over two years since Micky Hammond’s charge was last seen over jumps but he’s been twice successful on the flat in that time. Aged eleven, he’s been a good servant to his yard and could be well-treated on old form when finishing second off marks of 104 and 105 in Class Three company. However, that was back in 2014 and given he’s 0 from 15 runs over hurdles, he will be be up against it here.

3 BOHERNAGORE – This lightly-raced eight-year-old sprang a 40/1 surprise at Fontwell two runs ago when making all under Frankie Penford to win by six lengths. He folded tamely next time out at Fontwell having been raised 6lbs and rates as a more inconsistent sort. The Good to Soft ground may be more in his favour today but he wouldn’t rank as the safest of propositions off the same mark.

4 NOBLE GALILEO – Originally trained in Germany, Tim Vaughan’s son of Galileo is one of the more interesting runners in today’s field. He ran in a Group 1 in Germany and had a spell hurdling in France before making his way to the UK. He’s 0 from 4 over hurdles here but he has been dropped 18lbs since his arrival last winter and with George Blackwell taking off another 8lbs, he could be one of interest. Cheekpieces are applied for the first time but he is another yet to break his duck over obstacles despite a total of 13 attempts.

5 GASOLINE – Makes his handicap debut off a workable mark for a partnership that has been relatively successful at this level. He has been beaten a long way in most of his runs to date but he did post a good performance in a bumper back in April 2016. He could be just the type to improve now switched into handicap company and has a decent enough pedigree, sired by Mahler. He was bought by Ian Williams for €24,000 euros in 2015 and may well show what he’s capable of today.

6 CALARULES – Although winless in 10 to date, Tim Easterby’s charge has a good chance of recording his first victory today. Beaten at Doncaster by 2 1/2 lengths on his last start, 100 proved a workable mark and with today’s weight allowance puts him well in with a few rivals. Cheekpieces are applied for the first time but he will need to continue to improve to get his head in front where it matters, and he looks short in the market against a larger field given his maiden tag.

7 MEDAL OF FREEDOM – Continues to drop down the handicap having been well beaten on all his starts to date. There was strong market support for him on his last start when backed into 17/2 from 12/1 in a stronger race than this but he put in a very disappointing performance. This will be more within his sights but he needs to do more to convince he has the ability to match the market support.

8 XHALE – Posted a much better effort on handicap debut when beaten 10 lengths at Leicester. He travelled well but didn’t appear to handle the heavy going and couldn’t muster a finish. He’s only five years of age and there is likely more to come having only raced four times to date. He may prefer the better going today and certainly wouldn’t want the ground to worsen any further from good to soft. If it stays dry he may be one to show strong improvement.

9 CAFE AU LAIT – Sophie Leech’s runner is one of the more experienced sorts in this field with 25 runs to his name in the UK. He hasn’t won since November 2014 but has been dropping through the weights ever since then down to his lowest mark of 79 where he failed to score on two occasions when well-fancied. Connections may have missed the boat with this one from a handicapping perspective but conditions will suit and his rider takes off a valuable 8lbs.

10 SHALAMZAR – Another runner for the Micky Hammond yard, this eight-year-old is 0 from 13 attempts over hurdles and is dropped another 8lbs following a very poor run at Sedgefield last time out. Conditions should suit and he has some fair flat form but his hurdles career leaves much to be desired and could find this tough again.

11 BROADWAY BELLE – Looks really up against it here with very little form to her name. She fell in another conditional jockey’s handicap when well-beaten last time out and a 2lb drop in the handicap looks harsh from the assessor. She needs to show drastically improved form to feature here over the minimum distance.

12 NEXT HIGHT – Has been tried over hurdles and fences and hasn’t been seen in the winner’s enclosure since January 2014. The handicapper has dropped him another 10lbs having been pulled up last time out but he now finds himself out of the weights and up against it now dropped in trip.

13 HUGH’S SECRET – By Yeats, this five-year-old has shown virtually no form since taking to the racetrack. He returns from an 81 day break and has the cheekpieces applied for the first time, but it’s going to take a huge improvement in form to see him feature in this race. Thomas Dowson claims 3lbs but he should find this far too tough.

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