Good cases can be made for several of the runners in the Class 3 handicap chase over 3m2f on Thursday’s Carlisle card. Read our horse-by-horse race preview for our experts’ betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Benzel has made a decent start to his chasing career and Basford Ben has an excellent record over this C&D but both have been given quite a bit to do by the handicapper and this might go to NAKADAM, who took time to replicate his best French form in Britain but looked in excellent nick when last seen in April, is still only a 6yo and will be well suited by a thorough stamina test here. Settledoutofcourt is on a dangerous handicap mark, having won this race off 7lb higher last year, but he has quite a bit to prove and riding arrangements suggest Voyage A New York is Lucinda Russell’s main hope this time.
1 Benzel – 2-5 since switched to chasing this season, the wins gained at Uttoxeter (2m6f, soft) and Southwell (3m, good); faces a tougher assignment under top weight here and unseated rider at the first fence on latest outing but might still be progressing and needs to be taken very seriously.
2 Morney Wing – Won twice for new stable last season (2m4f/3m) and signed off with another good performance when close third in the Norfolk National at Fakenham (3m5f, good) in May; not yet fully exposed over marathon trips and will be fine on today’s ground; player if fully tuned up after break.
3 Harry The Viking – Not the force of old and has become very one-paced but stayed on for third in the Highland National (3m6f, good) at Perth in April, has slipped to a workable handicap mark and will be suited by today’s ground; each-way claims if ready to roll after break.
4 Whats Up Woody – Suffered a major dip in fortunes in 2015 but has worked his way back to his best and won four times this year; currently on a career-high mark but form of last month’s clear second at Hexham (2m4f, good to soft) has been franked by the winner and today’s trip/ground will also suit.
5 Voyage A New York – Rather inconsistent last season but won by 12l at Kelso (2m5f, soft) in February and gave a good account when third in a competitive event at Aintree (3m1f, good to soft) on latest outing in June; no surprise if he makes his presence felt today.
6 Lord Brendy – Proved very consistent when switched to fences in the 2014/15 season and came from off the pace to score at Kelso (3m2f, good) 18 months ago; only 3lb higher here but entitled to benefit from this first start for 496 days.
7 Ballyben – Sent off favourite when making stable debut after absence at Hexham last month but finished only fifth; continues to lurk on a workable mark and might have come on for the run but has some questions to answer and may prefer better ground than he’ll encounter here.
8 Basford Ben – Seems versatile regarding ground and has gained his last five wins over this C&D, most recently when making all on latest appearance in May; needs to return from 168-day break with new career-best performance to overcome current mark but looked in excellent nick last time.
9 Settledoutofcourt – Seemed to lose his way after game win off a 7lb higher mark in this race last year and was beaten about 76l at Cartmel when last seen in May; ought to cope with today’s ground, though, and will be a very tough nut to crack if back on song after a break.
10 Nakadam – Formerly trained in France; not an instant success in Britain last season but went close in refitted cheekpieces at Ayr (3m3f, soft) in February and subsequently came good at Kelso (3m2f, good to soft) in April; could easily have more to offer and commands respect.
myracing Forecast Prices: 4/1 Benzel, 5/1 Basford Ben, 6/1 Ballyben, Nakadam, 7/1 Morney Wing, Whats Up Woody, 8/1 Voyage A New York, 12/1 Settledoutofcourt, 16/1 Harry The Viking, Lord Brendy