Eight runners go to post for the third race of the day at Market Rasen, a two mile handicap. See our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: The form of CASTAFIORE‘s comfortably victory at Ludlow has been franked by the runner up winning since and she looks set for another big effort. She remains with heaps of potential and a mark of 120 may well underestimate her on handicap debut for Charlie Longsdon. Richard Johnson takes the ride and with conditions to suit, she should be tough to beat with further improvement more than likely. Dream Berry is most likely to follow her home as a course winner with further improvement likely.
1 SAKHEE’S CITY – Has been a five time runner up over hurdles since his sole win at Catterick (1m 7f, Good to Soft) and is starting to look exposed compared to his opponents today. Returning to the two mile trip after his disappointing effort at Uttoxeter when last seen in December (2m 4f, Soft) is likely to be a big plus though and conditions are to suit. Philip Kirby’s yard is running well at present and Adam Nicol takes the ride, but there has to be a big suspicion he’ll find at least one to good and places are all that can be hoped for today.
2 DREAM BERRY – Useful in France on two hurdling runs and held on all out here on British when bursting a blood vessel (2m, Soft). He then again broke a blood vessel when pulled up at Uttoxeter in November (2m 4f, Soft), and despite finishing a good sixth at Cheltenham on his latest start (2m, Soft), the fact he has bled twice is a big concern. Taken on trust that he’ll run his race today under 7lb claimer Jack Savage and despite being a course winner, he looks a risky proposition for Jonjo O’Neill. Place claims if at his best.
3 TOP OF THE GLAS – Twice a winner in September with two wins off the same mark but struggled off his revised mark when well beaten at Wetherby in October (2m, Good), looking very one paced that day. He has since been well beaten at Newcastle on the all weather and returns on the same hurdling mark after a short break from obstacles. Needs much more off this new mark to feature and may just struggle against some more progressive rivals. Place claims at best but would be a surprise winner against these rivals.
4 MASTER OF FINANCE – Smart handicapper on the flat for Mark Johnston and has won once over hurdles, winning at Ayr on his second start over hurdles in a weak looking race (2m, Good to Soft). He has the assistance of Brian Hughes on handicap debut which is a plus but a mark of 121 doesn’t necessarily see him well treated for this. Still has room for improvement in this sphere and he’s likely to put up a strong challenge for Malcolm Jefferson, but should find at least one of these too good for him today with all things considered.
5 CAIUS MARCIUS – Has been progressive over hurdles with two wins and two second’s from five starts, and he was still going well when unseating Craig Nichol on his latest start at Musselburgh in January (1m 7f, Good). Remains on the same mark which makes him interesting for the very much in for Nicky Richards yard, and looks to be the main contender to the selection today with the softer ground unlikely to be a problem. Has to be respected as he likely still has improvement in him after just six hurdling starts.
6 NO WIN NO FEE – Twice a winner over hurdles for Dr Richard Newland, with the latest of which coming at Stratford in July (2m, Good). He has however been poor the last twice, most recently in claiming company at Perth in September (2m, Good to Soft) and has his first start for Barry Leavy today. Place claims on the best of his form but returns from a 151 day absence in conditions that aren’t guaranteed to suit and is best watched.
7 CASTAFIORE – Faced some tough tasks in juvenile hurdles, facing the likes of Evening Hush and Project Bluebook but gained her first win in comfortable style at Ludlow a few weeks ago (1m 7f, Soft). The runner up has since followed up which is a big boost and a mark of 120 may well underestimate her potential on handicap debut for Charlie Longsdon. Conditions today are perfect and lots of improvement is likely with only four starts under her belt. Richard Johnson takes the ride and she has to be respected, looking the likely winner of this.
8 AISLABIE – Only three starts over hurdles and won a Wetherby juvenile hurdle when last seen in December, staying on strongly (2m, Good to Soft). Handicap debut off a mark of 118 which he is likely to be able to do some damage off of for Mark Walford. Soft ground is a question mark though and it’s hard to see him winning this against some more interesting rivals who’ve arguably achieved more to date. Place claims if finding this easier now handicapping but others have far more convincing claims.