IN SUMMARY: Set In My Ways, a handicap debutant from the Jonjo O’Neill stable, posted a much-improved performance when second over 2m last month and looks very interesting over today’s longer trip. However, his profile makes him the type that will end up at prohibitive odds and, at the prices, NIGHTLINE (6/1) makes more appeal. Charlie Longsdon’s gelding was only fourth off today’s mark at Doncaster last month but he probably kicked for home too early that day and can do better if ridden with slightly more patience here. Tara Tavey returned to form with a win at Towcester a week ago but she’s wildly inconsistent and her 7lb penalty probably leaves her vulnerable.
1 Brod Na Heireann – Came good over hurdles in novice event at Towcester (2m5f, soft) in November but went up 8lb for that and was comfortably held in a Wincanton handicap this month; 3lb lower in a slightly easier race today but may need further help from the assessor.
2 Nightline – Pulled up on handicap debut a year ago but went very close at Bangor (2m7f, good) for new stable in October and might have kicked for home too early when very respectable fourth at Doncaster (3m, good) last month; remains lightly raced and goes on the shortlist.
3 Set In My Ways – Posted by far his most encouraging of three hurdle runs when staying-on second in Ludlow maiden (2m, soft) last month; has obvious potential to make significant further progress if suited by the longer trip/faster ground on today’s handicap debut.
4 Petite Power – Outran 33-1 odds when second on hurdle debut at Leicester (2m4f, heavy) in December; flopped when upped to 3m at Taunton the following month but certainly wasn’t disgraced in a good-quality 2m5f event at Kempton six weeks ago and could easily have more to offer if aided by first-time cheekpieces in first handicap.
5 Horsted Valley – Returned from break with two poor runs in the autumn but was back in form when staying-on second of 16 at Doncaster (3m, good to soft) in January; seems rather one-paced but ought to be suited by this stiff track and is expected to make late headway again.
6 Tara Tavey – Looked badly out of sorts when pulled up four consecutive times this season but was evidently in a much better mood when scoring at Towcester (3m, soft) a week ago; will be fine on the faster ground here but 7lb penalty demands new career-best performance and it’s hard to predict whether she’ll warm to the task this time.
7 Far From Defeat – Pulled up on first three starts over hurdles but offered hope he might deliver on promise shown in points/bumpers when fourth at Chepstow (2m3f, soft) last month; back up in trip for today’s handicap debut and market support will bring him into the equation.
8 Royal Chief – Finished well when close second at Taunton (3m, good to soft) on latest outing in December and remains unexposed over this sort of trip; not ruled out but modest 1-26 strike-rate under rules keeps a lid on enthusiasm.
9 Rainbow Haze – Won over C&D (heavy) in November and ran another big race when third on slow ground back here this month; however, he lacks a change of gear and the major concern is that he’ll find himself outpaced on this much quicker surface.
myracing Forecast Prices: 15/8 Set In My Ways, 5/1 Nightline, Horsted Valley, 7/1 Tara Tavey, 12/1 Brod Na Heireann, Petite Power, Far From Defeat, Royal Chief, Rainbow Haze