Although only a six runner race, this is arguably one of the most intriguing on the card here at Carlisle on Monday. See our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: The market suggests this should be a match between Beg to Differ and Blakemount, but Carlisle stalwart CARRIGDOUN certainly shouldn’t be dismissed. With a record of three wins from seven visits, Maurice Barnes likeable twelve year old clearly loves it here and he was a C&D winner as recently as October, where he beat Cultram Abbey who he’s only a pound worse off with today. He wasn’t disgraced when last seen at Catterick and a mark of 131 is not beyond him, even at this late stage of his career. He’s likely to put up another brave effort for 5lb claimer Daragh Bourke and wouldn’t be a surprise winner by any stretch of the imagination.
1 BLAKEMOUNT – Consistent performer over these obstacles and was never going to be denied when winning here over the 3m 2f trip twelve days ago, beating the 2015 Classic Chase winner Russe Blanc in the process. He has a 7lb rise to contend with as a consequence but he has ran well off today’s mark over hurdles so there has to be hope he can overcome it over the larger fences too. Conditions are too suit with Sue Smith’s yard running well at present, and Danny Cook taking the ride is another positive. Likely to run another good race and has to be respected.
2 BEG TO DIFFER – Seven year old for Jonjo O’Neill who has been running in higher class races, but more often than not has been let down by his jumping. Fourth in the Welsh Grand National, he was keeping on well in the Masters Chase at Sandown when last seen before unseating his rider two out, not his first mistake of the race (3m, Soft). Clearly has potential and could be well treated on the best of his form, but his jumping is the thorn in his side and it’s hard to be confident backing him at such a short price. Likely to be in the shake up and has to be respected with Aidan Coleman taking the ride, but can be taken on today.
3 CULTRAM ABBEY – Ran a great race on his seasonal reappearance here in October when beaten by Carrigdoun (3m 2f, Good to Soft) but has been less than impressive the last twice, well beaten on both occasions, the latest of which over hurdles. Still remains on a mark of 135 and has been giving off the impression he needs it to drop down further if he’s to put up another good effort for the inform Nicky Richards yard. Conditions are to suit and he runs well at this track in the main, but is more than likely to find at least one of these too good today despite claimer Ryan Day taking off 5lb.
4 CARRIGDOUN – Very likeable twelve year old for Maurice Barnes who has a record of three wins from seven starts at this track and ran a good race to finish second at Kelso off a 1lb higher mark in the Scottish Borders Grand National in December, and will have no problem dropping back to this distance today as a C&D winner in October (beating Cultram Abbey who he’s only a pound worse off with). Although pulled up at Haydock subsequently (2m 7f, Soft), his latest fifth in the North Yorkshire Grand National (3m 5f, Good) was another good effort in the circumstances and he has dropped a pound since. Conditions are too suit today with Daragh Bourke taking off a useful 5lb and it’d be no surprise to see him running another brilliant race here. Has to be respected.
5 TOP WOOD – Certainly isn’t an assured jumper though didn’t run a bad race to finish fifth at Plumpton on his latest start in January (3m 4f, Soft) and going back down in trip is likely to suit better than that marathon distance. 131 is certainly a dangerous mark on his previous exploits, including a win off 2lb higher at today’s distance in March 2016 at Ludlow. Not one to take lightly with Tom Scudamore taking the ride, though is another who posses as a risky proposition with how is jumping is on occasions. Likely to be in the shake up though and has to be respected.
6 SUN CLOUD – Now lies 7lb below his last winning mark but he has largely struggled since the start of 2016, pulling up when last seen at Musselburgh earlier this month (4m, Good). Drops back down in trip which shouldn’t be a problem on past exploits but others certainly bring better form into the race and he’s another with a lot to prove at present. The ever in form Brian Hughes stakes the ride and conditions are fine today, but he can’t be recommended on his current form.