A field of eight go to post for the third race of the day at Chelmsford on Thursday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Dukinta bolted up on her latest start, but that was in Class 6 company and she needs to prove she’s up to this level raised eleven pounds. Ready preference is for Sir Mark Prescott’s PIEDITA, who can complete a hat-trick after two easy successes at Beverley and Lingfield. Both those runs were at this distance and her latest success was very taking, sauntering into the lead before blasting clear when asked for an effort. She is up eight pounds but that looks very lenient and she should be very tough to beat under Luke Morris.
1 JACK BEAR – Six year old for Harry Whittington who has been hurdling this winter, last seen at Newton Abbot where he was a disappointing favourite. He returns to the flat off a mark of 77 which doesn’t seem him particularly well treated, as he was soundly beaten off two pounds higher at Salisbury in October. This is a big class drop but others are far more interesting and he’s likely to bump into at least one here.
2 TAPER TANTRUM – Has finished runner up on his last three starts for Michael Bell, finishing two lengths down at Beverley on his latest start after becoming outpaced and then meeting trouble. He now returns to the all weather where his mark is four pounds lower, which makes him very interesting here with Ryan Moore taking over the ride. He is capable on this surface on his day and is one to consider.
3 BRACKEN BRAE – Course and distance winner for Mark Tompkins who will be looking to enhance her fine record at this track. She won at Wolverhampton three starts ago in good style, though she does have to bounce back from two poor efforts the last twice. She is still two pounds above her last winning mark but she should make a bold bid back here and she has to be respected with a bounce back imminent.
4 MISTER BOB – Only one pound above his last winning mark and he returned from nearly six months off the track when fourth at Redcar two weeks ago. That effort can be marked up as he is a much better horse on the all weather and he will strip much fitter for that latest run. He is feasibly treated and has definite each way possibilities, with a strong pace preferable as he likes to stalk out the back.
5 ARGANTE – Winning hurdler for Henry Spiller but his sole flat run in Britain resulted in a well beaten fifth at Kempton in August 2016, behind Mister Bob. He is only five pounds below that mark returning to the flat and further improvement is needed. Headgear goes back on and Rossa Ryan takes off seven pounds but others make far more appeal on balance.
6 PIEDITA – Lightly raced filly for Sir Mark Prescott who has thrived since being upped to the two mile distance, winning both her starts at this distance. She backed up an easy success at Beverly with another very cosy success at Lingfield, showing a great turn of foot to shoot clear once striking the front. He is clearly on the upgrade and he has very obvious follow up claims under Luke Morris. The hat-trick beckons.
7 DUKINTA – Daughter of Dubawi who showed some promise in maidens, making a mockery of her opening handicap mark when bolting up at Beverley three weeks ago. She has been raised eleven pounds as a result and goes up in grade now, so further improvement is needed. He couldn’t be ruled out because he could improve for the step up in trip, so he’s another to consider for the in form Hugo Palmer team.
8 CONKERING HERO – Progressing well on the all weather for Joseph Tuite before a disappointing run on the turf on his latest start at Lingfield. Prior to that turf run, he had just won on the Lingfield all weather at a canter and he was far from disgraced in this grade when fourth at Newcastle in June. He’s only one pound higher than that mark and has each way claims under Oisin Murphy, whose riding like a man possessed at present.