3.10pm Taunton tips for Thursday’s race. Read on for our free betting tips, predictions and analysis.
IN SUMMARY: A tightly matched field on paper but there is every possibility that MAC BELLA (Each Way) has sneaked in here off of this generous handicap mark, and with further improvement expected for the return to this sort of trip for the in-form Evan Williams yard, Adam Wedge can expect an exciting ride this afternoon.
1 MIDTECH VALENTINE – Four wins from fifteen starts over hurdles at distances from two miles to two miles three and off ratings up to 112 which is the same rating as she has this afternoon. Beaten a long way (fifty-five lengths) when last at Stratford on her return but that was her first run in five months and it is interesting to see Ian Williams book Richard Johnson to ride today.
2 G FOR GINGER – Won her first race over hurdles at Worcester on her fifth attempt and followed that with a fifth at Newton Abbot when not quite getting home over the two miles five and a half furlongs despite being sent off the 3/1 favourite. The drop back in trip today looks sure to suit and the Honeyball yard are running in to form so expect a big effort this afternoon.
3 PEGGIES VENTURE – Alan King’s mare makes her handicap debut here after a career-best over hurdles last time out at Worcester when beaten a head over the two miles on her first run since April. Weakened at Huntingdon when tried over this sort of trip last January and possibly well handicapped and she ought to stay this far on breeding now she has more experience.
4 THE LAST BAR – Dan Skelton has his horses in great form with twelve winners in the last two weeks but even he may struggle to get a win out of the daughter of Kayf Tara who has her issues. Yet to win over hurdles, she fell at Warwick in March last year and has been pulled up in both races since when tailed off and she needs to do a lot better than that to take a hand this afternoon.
5 LADY OF LONGSTONE – David Pipe puts the cheekpieces back on after a pair of runners-up berths at Taunton and then Fontwell over three and then three and a quarter miles but not certain to appreciate the drop back in trip here though her last win was over two miles three in March 2016 off eighteen pounds higher and if Michael Heard, who claims five pounds, can coax her along she is obviously well handicapped now.
6 SURENESS – Three wins on the flat and four over hurdles so far but out of sorts lately and pulled up when last seen at Newton Abbot in July when weakening rapidly over shorter. Her overall profile gives her chances here and she has won off sixteen pounds higher at Plumpton but that was in 2014 and she has a bit to prove on more recent efforts.
7 MAC BELLA – Some would say it was about time Evan Williams tried her over this sort of trip again after a one-paced fourth at Worcester in September and it has to be marked as interesting that she was entered over three miles earlier this month but failed to take up that engagement here. Dropped a pound this afternoon she may still be a maiden after six starts, five over hurdles, but she has shown plenty of ability already and looks very attractively weighted in this field and sure to run a huge race.
8 DIZZEY HEIGHTS – A winner over two miles at Fakenham on the first of the month despite jumping badly left, but may have found her return eight days later came too quickly when carrying a seven-pound penalty and a weakening sixth at Ludlow. Upped in trip but runs again after a week off and needs to show he can take his racing in quick succession before a bet can be suggested.
9 LA MADRINA – Two runs for Henry Oliver saw wide margin defeats before she moved to Katie Stephens but no signs of improvement so far with a twenty-seven length last of eight at Exeter her best run yet. A rating of 91 seems way too high on what we have seen so far and she would be a shock winner here at a huge price.
10 MIDNIGHT GYPSY – Career best on the first of this month when winning a course and distance handicap on faster ground by two and a half lengths and put up five pounds by the handicapper which seems about right. Sadly her inconsistency in recent months suggests there is no guarantee she can repeat that run in this better race, but if she does she can go close off just ten stone three today.