If the yard were in better heart at the moment then Takingrisks would be a clear choice here but Nicky Richards has had a few disappointments recently with three turned over at 5/4 or shorter in the last 10 days. Octagon has shown more than enough to suggest he can win off this mark but Brian Ellison had a treble at Newcastle on Saturday and can add to that with OSCAR BLUE. The step down in trip looks in his favour and he has shown more than enough to suggest this is a winnable mark.
A trip to Scotland’s West Coast and a meeting at Ayr is a regular on a Monday (almost half their annual fixtures kick off the week.) A 2m5f hurdle here on soft ground is going to need a blend of speed and stamina with a competitive line up of ten.
1 Tap Night (17/2) – As inconsistent as the day is long but on a going day is a talented individual. He was disappointing the last time he ran at the track but that was a far better race than this and with three successes here in the past it has been a happy hunting ground. He is on a workable mark (just 4lbs higher than a win earlier in the season) if he is on a going day.
2 Oscar Blue (13/2) – A disappointment when last seen three weeks ago, he came back having torn off a front shoe during the race so that effort is easily forgiven. He had previously looked as if his stamina ebbed away close home having travelled powerfully, so the step down in trip could be the key to a strong showing.
3 Calivigny (12/1) – Both career wins have come at this track, over both shorter and longer than this so the inbetween trip is unlikely to be an issue. This will be easier than the novice company he has kept on his last two starts but the lack of his usual hood is a question mark.
4 Takingrisks (11/4) – A fortunate winner last time, four lengths down when left clear at the last. The faller has skated up since and the well beaten third has also won a novice so the form looks solid. This mark looks pretty fair on his handicap debut and it is no surprise to see this unexposed lad at the head of the betting.
5 Hartforth (16/1) – No secrets from the handicapper here and half a stone above his highest winning mark. He is ideally suited by further but this front runner could put that stamina to good use from the front and he is no forlorn hope of sneaking into the frame.
6 Octagon (6/1) – Found disappointingly little when push came to shove at Haydock when last seen having looked all over the winner halfway up the straight. He remains capable of better off this sort of mark and could be a back to lay given his strong travelling style and weak finish.
7 Golden Sparkle (14/1) – A winner off this mark when last seen over hurdles in 2014 but she has a long absence to overcome here and makes little appeal unless there is significant market support.
8 Caledonia (5/1) – Well fancied on all three starts this season, he is yet to justify the market support. All three of those runs were from the front and both career wins have been when held up so it will be interesting to see what tactics are employed here (few other front runners) with this mark looking workable.
9 Rival D’Estruval (20/1) – You need to go back to December 2012 to find his most recent win and despite being 11lbs lower than at the start of the season, the ease has yet to halt his decline. Undoubtedly well treated on his best but needs the first time blinkers to have a positive effect.
10 Boruma (16/1) – Probably not all that well handicapped and with three of his four best career efforts all coming at Doncaster, it might be worth waiting until he is back on Town Moor before supporting.
Race Time: 3.15pm Meeting: Ayr Day: Monday 29th February 2016 Full Race Name: Dawn Homes Part Exchange Handicap Hurdle
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