2.40pm Taunton Tips & Betting Preview 11/01/2017

The fourth race of the day at Hereford is an intriguing handicap hurdle with lots of potentially useful sorts on display. See our betting tips and the full race preview below.

IN SUMMARY: Midnight Tour has good form already posted including two wins and Volpone Jelois would be dangerous to discount off a basement weight, but they both may struggle to live with RESOLUTION BAY. Twice raced over hurdles, he has impressed on both occasions including a ready win on debut and better can be expected on his handicap debut off a mark of 128 which doesn’t look overly harsh. Champion Jockey Richard Johnson is up top to do the steering and this E130,000 purchase should take all the beating for the Phillip Hobbs’ team.

1 MIDNIGHT TOUR – Not the most progressive horse but useful at her best and won on her penultimate start at Hereford in November, but was nowhere near as good at Cheltenham in December (2m 4f, Soft). Remains on the same mark, dropping in trip and class for today’s run with conditions to suit, and if those factors bring her back to her best she should be able to run a good race for Alan King. She is 11lb above his last winning mark however and does need to show further improvement as her last few runs barring the victory have all been of a similar level.

2 SLEEP EASY – Thrice raced over hurdles and has been steadily improving with each run, with his latest third at Doncaster in this class a career best on handicap debut. Remains on the same mark with improvement still to be had, and the Neil Mulholland stable are in good form at present with 4 winners from their previous 22 runners. He has conditions to suit as he’s run well on good ground before so all signs point to a big run, so he should be respected today.

3 RESOLUTION BAY – Showed no form in a bumper at Chepstow back in April (2m, Soft) but returned with a good performance on hurdling debut to readily dismiss his rivals at Exeter in November (2m, Good). He made his third start at Ascot in an introductory hurdle a few weeks later and ran with credit to finish 3rd and not beaten far. He makes his handicap debut today off a mark of 128 which doesn’t seem overly harsh and with conditions to suit, this progressive E130,000 purchase should make further improvement today for Philip Hobbs, with this assistance of the champion jockey a big help.

4 WINNING SPARK – 10 year old who put in a career best on his latest start to win here over further in December (2m 3f, Good to Firm), and the drop back in trip for today doesn’t seem like the correct move as he needed every yard to get his head in front. Raised 7lb for that effort and doesn’t look likely to follow up against horses who are much more progressive, so despite having the ground to suit, he is best left alone today.

5 SPACE ODDITY – Hadn’t been showing much improvement in handicaps before winning nicely at Exeter (2m 2f, Soft) off a basement weight on New Years Day. Drops back in trip which shouldn’t pose a problem if judged on previous form, with conditions also to suit today. Harry Fry’s string are in good order at present with a 29% strike rate in the past two weeks from 21 runners and he has Kieron Edgar on board taking off a useful 3lb to further aide his cause, so has to be respected.

6 BINGO D’OLIVATE – Still 7lb above his last winning mark and hasn’t shown much the last twice, never travelling well at Ffos Las and was beaten by the time they crossed the 5th fence on his latest start (1m 7f, Soft). Has lots to prove today on ground he’s never previously raced on and still seems high in the weights if judged upon that last performance, so is possibly best left today.

7 FORECAST – Mixed bag under both codes but did win a novices’ hurdle at Hereford in October (2m 3f, Good), and wasn’t disgraced when upped to three miles here in early December, only two lengths down in 2nd. With that run it is quite a surprise he is dropped back to two miles today, but he does have ground conditions to suit and improvement is still likely. He remains with potential but doesn’t seem the likeliest winner now upped in class and has place claims at best.

8 KUBLAI – Back to his last winning mark of 115 today but its hard to get excited by his chances today after pulling up on his last three starts. He drops back in trip in a bid to revive his form but with his best form at around 2m 5f and in a class below this, it is tricky to make a case for Alexandra Dunn’s 7 year old. Best watched today until he shows some form of note.

9 GIVE HIM TIME – Hasn’t shown any form of note and was dropped 4lb after another poor display at Kempton on his penultimate start (2m, Soft), but even that didn’t prompt any improvement and he slumped to a heavily eased 7th of 14 at Plumpton a few weeks ago (1m 7f, Good to Soft). Remains on the same mark but goes up in class today which seems a strange move as he was unable to land a blow in Class 4 races. Hard to find any reasons to back him today and best watched.

10 VOLPONE JELOIS – French import who ran well on debut for Paul Nicholls when 2nd at Fontwell behind a progressive sort who was odds on, and made amends for that when beating a horse rated 120 when holding on well at Taunton last month (2m, Good). That didn’t represent much improvement from his debut when analysed despite winning and he makes his handicap debut today off a mark of 121. He does have conditions to suit and going up in trip should suit, so he’d be a dangerous horse to discount off bottom weight as any amount of progress could come, so has to be respected today.

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