Some interesting races today and Chepstow no less so than this Handicap in which some top yards are represented.
IN SUMMARY: Azert De Coeur could be back on a dangerous mark today and if rediscovering past form will be a big danger to all in a wide open affair. Strongly Suggested is another who could run well if finding the form he showed a couple of starts ago and his yard looking to be getting over a cold patch. KEEP MOVING however could be tough to beat. He had only modest form in France but has joined a top yard who excel with these types and for a jockey that rides this track well could be tough to beat.
1 Laser Hawk – Won a Maiden Hurdle back in 2014 at Newbury, easily accounting for 20 rivals with a 2 ¾ length victory and landing the odds at 20/1. His mark has dropped markedly since then and cannot be written off so easily although he only completed twice over fences last year and has a 211 day break to contend with.
2 Strongly Suggested – Has disappointed in his last two runs at Uttoxeter but had previously run well winning by 11 lengths at Southwell in June beating Valseur Du Granval from Tom George’s yard and then only going down ½ length at Newton Abbot in August. That was good form and can feature here if rediscovering that. Yard have been slightly off the boil recently but had a big win at Cheltenham at the weekend and their horses are running well enough without winning so the tide may be turning.
3 Ratify – Been off the track for 228 days but had previously won off a lower mark when last seen in April at Uttoxeter. 8lb higher here and not written off completely if returning in the same mood.
4 Wilton Milan – Finished 2nd of 4 runners when having first run since April at Fontwell last month. Didn’t build on that when only 5th at Carlisle 3 weeks ago and has a muddling record at best. The handicapper has been lenient and with a slipping mark is not one to be discounted in a race of this nature with the yard going well.
5 Rock On Rocky – One of 2 runners from Matt Shepard’s stable and won 2 Handicap Hurdles in November 2014 at Chepstow and then Leicester by a combined margin of 10 lengths. Overall form looks patchy and hasn’t returned to best form in 2 runs so far this season so probably best overlooked on this occasion.
6 Keep Moving – Only modest form over fences when trained by Guy Cherel and no better when hurdling before that. Can figure for a top trainer who has a healthy strike rate with horses of this nature and market vibes would be a positive.
7 Azert De Coeur – Decent enough form on heavy ground earlier in the year running a couple of nice races in defeat but pulled up at Uttoxeter when last seen in April. Has come down in the weights and dangerous to dismiss if well backed in the market for a trainer who can often find huge improvement in horses of this nature.
8 Modeligo – Won 2 back-to-back 2m Handicaps at Worcester and Warwick in the Spring staying on nicely in both races to win by 2 lengths. Has struggled in 3 races since and goes back up in trip today and that could bring a return to form but others more persuasive.
9 Long John – Won a Handicap Chase at Exeter last December easily beating 6 rivals by 12 lengths. Has been running well in defeat since and trainer can get them ready after an absence having not been seen since April. Market will guide as to chances.