Hereford stages its first National Hunt meeting since the end of 2012 on Thursday and the feature race is a Class 3 handicap chase over 3m1f. Read our full race preview for our experts’ betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Cases can be made for most of the runners in what looks a very open handicap. The suggestion is ROC D’APSIS, who didn’t jump as well as he can do when upped to 3m for a Grade 3 handicap at Kempton in February and, in the circumstances, deserves plenty of credit for staying on for third. Earlier last season he won twice at around 2m4f when the emphasis was on stamina, and there’s a good chance he has some untapped potential over staying trips. No No Mac signed off with a couple of chase wins in May and is feared most but The Tourard Man is also respected as he bids for a fifth consecutive win. Belmount might find this tougher than the Newton Abbot event he took last month and Fort Worth is yet to convince as a chaser.
1 The Tourard Man – Won twice over hurdles in May and has subsequently completed a four-timer with novice chase victories at Worcester (2m7f, good) and Southwell (3m, good); faces tougher assignment under top weight in this handicap chase but remains favourably treated on hurdles form; respected.
2 Gallery Exhibition – Not seen since unseating rider at Kempton in May but produced a good performance to win there (2m4f, good to soft) last November; has gone well fresh before and will be fine over today’s trip; could have a say.
3 No No Mac –Disappointed in first two chases last November but began second spell over fences with convincing win in first-time blinkers at Market Rasen (3m, good) in May and took advantage of a good opportunity with minimal fuss at Towcester (2m5f, good) later that month; current handicap mark no gift but likely to be fully revved up after a break and enters calculations.
4 Roc D’Apsis – Never looked dangerous in the Grade 3 BetBright Chase at Kempton (3m, good to soft) in February but, given his jumping lacked fluency that day, he did well to stay on for third; ended last season with a quiet run at the Aintree festival but will appreciate today’s drop in class and remains unexposed over this sort of trip; one to consider.
5 Purple ‘n Gold – Quirky customer who has run some good races this season, most recently when runner-up at Fontwell (2m1f, good) on Friday; runs here before a 3lb rise in the weights takes effect but his stamina heads into unknown territory and it’s never easy to predict what sort of mood he’ll be in.
6 Audacious Plan – Placed over 3m4f at the 2015 Punchestown festival and also ran a big race when fourth at Cheltenham (3m1f, good) just under a year ago; subsequently lost his way and has been absent since falling at the Cheltenham festival in March, but will be dangerous in this company if back on song.
7 Belmount – 2-11 over fences after producing good performance to win by 4l at Newton Abbot (3m2f, good) last month; also effective on right-handed tracks and subsequent 5lb rise doesn’t look excessive, but today’s race is more competitive.
8 Fort Worth – Can’t be blamed for unseating his rider when hampered at Stratford last month but is now 0-5 over fences and is yet to convince with his jumping; remains quite well handicapped on some of his hurdles form but comes with risks attached.
9 Dursey Sound – Not straightforward or reliable but stayed on well to score at Hexham (3m, good) last month, his second start for Ben Haslam; today’s race is quite a bit stronger but he remains attractively weighted on past exploits and is certainly not out of this if on another going day.
myracing Forecast Prices: 3/1 The Tourard Man, 4/1 No No Mac, 5/1 Belmount, 8/1 Roc D’Apsis, Purple ‘n Gold, Dursey Sound, 10/1 Audacious Plan, Fort Worth, 12/1 Gallery Exhibition