12 runners have been declared for an interesting novices’ handicap chase on Thursday’s Market Rasen card. Read on for our horse-by-horse race preview and experts’ betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Irish point winner Walking In The Air posted good effort over hurdles on his seasonal reappearance and needs to be taken very seriously here. However, opening quotes of around 9/4 look skinny for a horse making his chasing debut is this good-quality event and there is better value elsewhere. The suggestion is HEDLEY LAMARR, who has evidently been quite difficult to train but gave a very good account in a competitive Cheltenham handicap hurdle in April and can go well fresh. Palm Grey enjoyed dominating from the front at Carlisle recently and is of interest under a 7lb penalty, but is only due a 5lb rise and contests a stronger race this time. McCabe Creek seems to lack a change of gear but made a satisfactory chasing debut over an inadequate 2m at Ludlow and can build on that performance now back up in trip.
1 PINNACLE PANDA – Dual hurdle winner last season (2m/2m4f); signed off with a couple of heavy defeats in the spring and was brought down at the fourth fence when making seasonal/chase debut last month, but still has low mileage and some potential; no surprise if he gets his career back on track soon.
2 PRESELI ROCK – Came good with wide-margin maiden hurdle win at Uttoxeter (2m7f, good) on stable debut in May; flopped when odds-on to follow-up at Worcester a month later and makes chasing debut after a 141-day break, but there’s every chance he has a decent future over fences.
3 WALKING IN THE AIR – Easily won a maiden hurdle at Warwick (2m5f, good) in March and made very encouraging seasonal/handicap debut when placed in Class 2 company at Carlisle (2m4f, good to soft) last month; now switches to fences and his easy Irish point win in 2015 bodes well for his prospects.
4 McCABE CREEK – Won just once from 14 starts over hurdles but his fifth in a good-quality handicap here (2m4f, good) in July was a good effort and he made a satisfactory chasing debut when filling the same position over 2m at Ludlow last month; ought to be better suited by today’s trip and could have a say.
5 HEDLEY LAMARR – Lightly raced 6yo who ran a big race and confirmed he can go well fresh when fourth of 16 in a Class 2 handicap hurdle at Cheltenham (2m4f, good to soft) on latest outing in April; good chance if able to match that level of form on today’s chasing debut.
6 CUSHEEN BRIDGE – Won gamely over C&D (good) in July and also ran well when second back here (3m, good) last month; claims on that evidence, but today’s slightly slower ground is not ideal and he’s not one to rely upon heavily.
7 URBAN HYMN – Well handicapped on the form of his Grade 2 novice hurdle win January 2014 and also the very promising start he made to his chasing career in the autumn of that year; however, been very lightly raced since then and both runs over fences this season have been very disappointing.
8 SPENCER LEA – Scored over hurdles here (2m4f, heavy) when making stable debut after long absence in February and also ran well when second at Sandown (2m5f, heavy) the following month; not seen since a lesser effort in April and would make more appeal on slower ground, but not ruled out on first start over fences.
9 PALM GREY – Ended last season in poor form over hurdles and was pulled up with a slipped saddle when back in action over fences last month but jumped well and made all to score at Carlisle (2m4f, good) recently; only due to go up 5lb for that win but takes his chance under a 7lb penalty and is respected.
10 MAN FROM SEVILLE – Improved significantly upon low-key stable/hurdle debut when 20/1 winner of Southwell novice hurdle (2m, good to soft) in February but that form has taken some hefty knocks and he struggled when last in action; not bred for chasing and faces a tall order here.
11 NIGHTLINE – Hasn’t made the progress that might have been expected after his win in a 2m4f Southwell maiden hurdle for Henry Daly in 2014, and has been absent since a moderate run in March; might fare better now switched to chasing but others have more pressing claims.
12 BREATH OF BLIGHTY – Winning pointer who has shown significant promise on a couple of occasion in novice hurdles but is still a maiden after six starts in that sphere and has finished rather weakly on his last couple of outings; makes chasing debut today and others are more appealing.
myracing Forecast Prices: 9/4 Walking In The Air, 8/1 Preseli Rock, Urban Hymn, Palm Grey, 10/1 McCabe Creek, Hedley Lamarr, 12/1 Pinnacle Panda, Nightline, 14/1 Cusheen Bridge, Spencer Lea, 20/1 Man From Seville, Breath Of Blighty