Race Time: 2.30pm Meeting: Lingfield Day: Tuesday 10th November 2015
Distance: 2m Full Race Name: Download Titanbet Sports App “Flat Jockeys” Handicap Hurdle (To be ridden by Pro Flat Jockeys) Class Four
An intriguing if difficult to predict “novelty” race sees professional flat racing jockeys try their hand at this two mile event over hurdles on soft ground which will be interesting for all as long as everyone comes back in one piece of course. Common sense suggests we look for jockeys tied to dual purpose yards as they may have had more exposure to the workings of schooling and the like (and may have even sat on a few themselves, you never know), which instantly starts us off with top weight Very Noble (10/1), who will be ridden by Jim Crowley who is oft associated with Amanda Perrett. As for the all important horse, he has been chasing of late but has won here in a bumper back in February 2014, as well as two hurdle races, one of which was on the heavy going he seems sure to face this afternoon. His rating of 110 is four pounds higher than his last win, but exploitable in our view, and although top weight is an anchor, it may not be enough to stop him, and a big race seems pretty much assured.
Some would consider some of the riders here to be “cheating”, having ridden over jumps in the past, though to be fair Timmy Murphy’s ride looks a tricky customer. Norse Light (20/1) was pulled up last time out at Bangor and sixth of elven at Huntingdon the tine before (beaten twenty five lengths) so it seems fair to say that he is not at the tip of his game, though he did win a Class Four handicap off the same rating of 105, and on soft going as well, so maybe he isn’t without a shout after all? Those looking for an each way option could certainly do a lot worse in our view, but then again we have no prices as yet to base our final decisions on.
Mattie Batchelor has ridden over jumps plenty of times so Solstice Star (11/10) will not lack for experience from the saddle and having won last time out at Chepstow (over this trip and on soft ground), which must make him the number one early call. Relatively lightly raced with just the eight starts over hurdles, that was his best effort by far to date, yet the handicapper has left him on the same rating of 93, which must surely give him a brilliant chance despite the step up in class today with all the other race conditions very much in his favour for the likeable trainer Martin Keighley.
As many of you will have noticed, Sussex trainer Gary Moore came out of hospital at the weekend to a 1529/1 treble at Sandown which will have cheered him up a bit, and he looks likely to send Mr Fickle (5/1) here who is in the form of his life. A win over hurdles at Kempton in May was followed by two wins and two places on the flat, and although seven pounds higher now may still be reasonably weighted, though he did take a dive at the last hurdle at Kempton which will surely give jockey Shane Kelly a sleepless night or two between now and race time.
Finally, Nick Lampard sends Sadma (10/1) here and at least he is in decent recent form and near the bottom of the weights. Although pulled up at Towcester first time out, that was over fences and he seems so much happier over hurdles as proved with a win next time out at Chepstow and a respectable if not overly inspiring third at Plumpton from a two pound higher mark, looking a bit one paced in the process. Our issue is what looks like a love of a faster surface and Lingfield is expected to be heavy, so we will watch him and wish him well – but cannot back him here.