Friday’s Wetherby card features this Listed handicap chase over about 2m3f. Our betting tips focus on the oldest runner in the field. Read on for the full race preview.
IN SUMMARY: Abricot De L’Oasis enjoyed a productive campaign over hurdles for Dan Skelton last season and could still have untapped potential back over fences, but his current handicap mark is no gift and he looks skinny at around 9/4 in the early betting markets. Pair Of Jacks and Degooch were both placed in the same C&D event 16 days ago and also deserve consideration. With our original selection Helium now a non runner, the progressive mare INDIAN STREAM looks to have an excellent chance to get back to winning ways. She ran better than the bare form suggests at Chepstow last time out and may well not have finished improving.
1 Theatre Guide – Beaten over 10l when third on soft ground in this race last year and is 9lb higher now; subsequently finished very creditable second in the Hennessy Gold Cup in November and landed a Grade 3 handicap at Kempton (3m, good to soft) in February, but might find 2m3f on a sound surface too sharp after his six-month absence.
2 Indian Stream – 4-7 since switched to fences in summer 2015, with one of the wins gained in a Listed handicap at Cheltenham (2m5f, good) in April; hit hard by the handicapper for 20l romp at Market Rasen (2m5f, good) in June but ran better than defeat by that margin might suggest at Chepstow (2m7f, good) this month, having made a couple of significant jumping errors. and it would be unwise to assume her progress is over.
3 Pair Of Jacks – Came from off the pace to score at Cartmel (3m1f, good to soft) in July and bounced back from a couple of lesser efforts when close second over C&D (good) this month; struck the front in the closing stages last time, only to be mugged by a fast-finisher and needs to be taken very seriously off just 1lb higher today.
4 Shadows Lengthen – Currently 1lb lower than when eased-down winner of this race in 2014; well beaten when defending his crown a year ago but the soft ground was probably against him that day and he gave a fairly good account when second (albeit no match for the winner) when last in action at Perth (2m4f, good to firm) in June; not ruled out.
5 Abricot De L’Oasis – Won three times over hurdles after joining Dan Skelton last season; current mark demands further progress and we haven’t seen him over fences since May 2015, but he won in this sphere at Sedgefield (2m3f, good to firm) the previous month and remains unexposed as a chaser.
6 Helium – Completed a 2m hat-trick at around this time last year and, following a good run on the Flat this month, finished a very respectable fourth here (2m, good) recently; 2lb lower now and will probably be fine over today’s trip; each-way claims at least. (Non Runner)
7 Top Cat Henry – Unlucky to be brought down when still in contention on seasonal debut at Fontwell this month but was slightly disappointing when well-held third at Stratford (2m5f, good) a fortnight ago and will probably find this tougher than the 2m5f Class 4 contest he won here in March; swaps visor for first-time blinkers; others preferred.
8 Degooch – Two wins since fitted with blinkers this summer, at Uttoxeter (2m4f, good to soft) and Sedgefield (2m5f, good), and was only just behind Pair Of Jacks when close third over C&D a couple of weeks ago; nudged up 1lb for that but no surprise if he’s in the thick of things again.
myracing Forecast Prices: 5/2 Abricot De L’Oasis, 11/2 Pair Of Jacks, 6/1 Theatre Guide, Indian Stream, Degooch, 7/1 Top Cat Henry, 8/1 Shadows Lengthen, 16/1 Helium