A field of eight go to post for the fourth race of the day at Plumpton on Monday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Minella Gathering is likely to be a popular selection after his C&D win two fourteen days ago and should go well under a 4lb rise, but preference is for JEBS GAMBLE. He has been running respectably in novice company, finish third at Towcester on his latest start when staying on. He is a likely big improver now in handicap company raised markedly in trip, with both his pedigree and novice efforts suggesting that to be true. He has to be respected under 7lb claimer Patrick Cowley and looks likely to take this race ahead of Ballyheigue Bay, who has cheekpieces added and is well treated on his chasing form.
1 MIDNIGHT TUNE – Course winner in bumpers but was brushed aside on handicap debut at Uttoxeter last month, beaten by fifteen lengths and showing little to no improvement from her maiden runs (2m 3f, Heavy). She does however go up in trip for this latest run which could suit and the Anthony Honeyball yard are going very well at present, with three winners form their last seven runners. David Noonan takes off a useful 3lb and she isn’t one ti discount just yet, enters calculations.
2 BALLYHEIGUE BAY – Very patchy record and one who is hard to catch right, running poorly on all three of his starts this season for Chris Gordon. He weakened out of things rapidly when well beaten at Ascot three weeks ago, but takes a drop in class and the cheekpieces are added in a bid to rev him up for today’s outing. The yard are going brilliantly at present with a 43% strike rate from their last fourteen runners and is very interesting off his current mark, very well treated when comparing with his chasing form. Has to be respected and a likely player.
3 OSCAR JUNE – Front runner who was a four time winner last term, but has been solidly out of form on both her starts this season for Johnny Farrelly. She did however give the impression she again needed her latest run at Taunton two weeks ago and could improve for them on today’s outing. Conditions to suit and she’s now only 3lb above her last winning mark, so does have possibilities in this race. Brendan Powell takes the ride and she looks likely to play a role in this, though is very risky.
4 BLACKWELL SYNERGY – Dual winner in the summer of 2015 but he’s made limited impact for a good while now, with his latest run at Kempton another poor display when tailed off (3m, Soft). Perhaps he needed that after a near five month break but he’s shown little too suggest he can make much of an impact at the age of eleven. Now 2lb below his last winning mark (that came back in July 2015) and others make far more appeal despite him possibly being ‘well treated’.
5 JEBS GAMBLE – Thrice raced over hurdles thus far in novice company and his latest start at Towcester a month ago was a pleasing run, keeping on despite making a bad mistake at a crucial mistake (1m 7f, Soft). Makes his handicap debut today off a mark of 100 which could be generous considering he’s a like massive improver now upped markedly in trip, with both that run and his pedigree suggesting so. Patrick Cowley takes off a useful 7lb and should be able to take apart this mediocre field today for Nick Gifford.
6 TZAR DE L’ELFE – Twenty-two race maiden in France and has made little promise in a pair of C&D handicaps for Richard Rowe, never involved when tailed off on his latest attempt. Almost impossible to recommend on the basis of those two runs, despite the handicapper dropping him seven pounds in the ratings. Conditions will suit but that could be said the last twice and others are readily preferred on this occasion.
7 MINELLA GATHERING – Off the mark at the eleventh attempt when winning over C&D on his latest start, all out to hold on from a rallying rival in second. Handicapper has hit him with a 4lb rise as a result but that seems fair and he’s likely to be popular again with conditions to suit and Nick Schofield taking the ride. He isn’t the most consistent though and it’s hard to say with any sort of confidence he’ll back up that recent run. Can be taken on today but does look to have solid claims, so has to be respected.
8 BOSTIN – Course winner back in March 2015 off a 10lb higher mark, staying on strongly when it mattered to take a game victory (2m 4f, Good to Firm). That however was two years ago in conditions much different to today’s, with his latest C&D fourth (beaten 54 lengths) when behind Minella Gathering the run to focus on. Dropped 4lb since that run but it’d be a surprise if he were to overturn that form, with his other three efforts this season just as poor. Very easy to look elsewhere in this.