Nine runners go to post for this 0-105 mares’ novice handicap chase at Wetherby racecourse over the extended two miles and five furlongs. Read on for full analysis of the race, our runner by runner guide and most importantly, our free tip for the contest.
IN SUMMARY: Dropped in class, Aces Over Eights has to enter calculations for the Kerry Lee stable but our vote goes to TOP AND DROP for in-form Venetia Williams who should improve massively for the switch to the larger obstacles today. The stable have a 19% strike-rate with handicap chase debutants since the start of the 2011/12 season and that can be enhanced this afternoon.
1 TOP AND DROP – Venetia Williams is in terrific heart at present and she saddles this top weight who is having her chase debut at the age of six today. By Kayf Tara, she is very likely to appreciate the larger obstacles and improvement should be on the way. Lightly raced, she was placed on her last three starts at Newton Abbot, Chepstow and Ffos Las and although she is off a five pound higher mark here, she looks certain to give it a good attempt stepped up in trip.
2 ACES OVER EIGHTS – Kerry Lee is another female trainer proving to be very successful on the national hunt circuit over the past year or two and Jamie Moore will take the ride on this eight year old mare by Old Vic. Her sole success over fences came at Towcester off a mark of 103 last May on good ground and she runs off the same mark today. Beat a short head in Class 3 company at Ludlow last time out, she is sure to be involved in the finish.
3 MONEY MAID – Nine year old mare trained by Graeme McPherson who must enter calculations on the pick of her form even if she is 0/13 in her career to date. She was sent off a well backed 3/1 favourite at Hereford last time out but was sadly pulled up, which was her third pull up in her career. Prior to that run, she arrived there off the back of two second place finishes at Newcastle and Wetherby, going down by a neck to Two Smokin Barrels in the latter. Big player if her last run can be forgiven.
4 MOLLYANNA – Cheekpieces and tongue-strap go on this eight year old mare for the very first time which is an interesting move by connections as they can bring out some major improvement in some cases. Jamie Snowden’s inmate has some solid Irish place form over this sort of trip from when she was trained by Colin Bowe in Ireland. She won an Irish maiden over two miles at Sligo two years ago and this is just her third start in the UK, the last of which she was a fortunate 2nd at Wincanton last time out. More needed but respected. Jamie Snowden has a 27% strike-rate in the past two weeks so the yard is in terrific form which is a plus.
5 CHASMA – Seven year old Kayf Tara mare trained by the shrewd Mick Easterby. She unseated rider when an unfancied 33/1 shot at Wetherby last time out but she has won over two and a half miles on soft and heavy ground in the past so she clearly does stay. The concern would be the drying ground as she needs as much rain as possible and with all Easterby runners, the market is usually very revealing.
6 FRANK N FAIR – Zoe Davison trained nine year old mare who won a handicap hurdle at Plumpton off a mark of 83 last year over three miles and a furlong. She has been in woeful form since that run and still looks in the handicapper’s grip off a mark of 90 over fences today. All three of her wins have come over hurdles and although this is only her second start over the larger obstacles, she has a lot to prove.
7 SHY – Five year old mare trained by George Charlton and her form leaves a lot to be desired with just one place from her ten starts to date. She was beat 44 lengths at Kelso, 39 lengths at Hexham, 25 lengths at Hexham, 25 lengths at Hexham again, 25 lengths at Sedgefield, 16 lengths at Musselburgh and beat 37 lengths last time out at Carlisle. Massive improvement needed to take a hand today.
8 MASSINI’S LADY – Brian Hughes has to be a very eye-catching jockey booking on this Nick Alexander runner down at the foot of the weights. This six year old mare has not tasted victory from twelve starts to date but she was placed twice at Ayr in two of her last three starts. Ground would have to be a concern as she adores soft or heavy ground, so she will want the heavens to open to be seen to best effect. This is a tougher race and she is one pound out of the weights but she has to be respected.
9 LILLY’S LEGEND – Mark Walford has a 21% strike-rate with his chasers who run between two miles and three furlongs and three miles since the start of the 2011/12 season which is a very healthy return. On top of that, this seven year old mare is the sole course winner in the field, a race she dead-heated over three miles and one furlong back in 2015 off a mark of 74 over hurdles. She needs to produce a career best to land this.