Eight runners have been declared for the intermediate handicap hurdle over 2m1f at Carlisle on Thursday. Our experts’ betting tips focus on the Irish-raider. Read on for our full race preview.
IN SUMMARY: Oldgrangewood was placed off today’s mark in a competitive 2m4f contest on Scottish Grand National day at Ayr when making his handicap debut in April and is not opposed lightly in what looks a significantly easier race here. However, the bookmakers aren’t taking too many chances with opening quotes of around 2/1 and a better value alternative is the Irish challenger PASHTUNWALI. The 5yo is still seeking his first win over hurdles but seems to have responded very well to blinkers on his last couple of outings, will be suited by today’s ground and is expected to come up the hill strongly here. Traditional Dancer won a match race at Kelso with minimal fuss this month and could still have untapped potential but, to this point, his form on slow ground has been very underwhelming. Presenting Rose is not yet fully exposed and has decent each-way claims if fully revved up after her break.
1 Traditional Dancer – Miles clear of the third when second to a subsequent winner on handicap debut at Kelso (2m2f, good to firm) in May and gained second hurdle success when easy winner of two-runner event back there this month; could easily have more to offer but today’s much softer ground a major concern.
2 Oldgrangewood – Justified very short odds in Ayr maiden (2m, soft) in February and form of his subsequent third on handicap debut there (2m4f, good to soft) in April looks very solid; fitness is unlikely to be an issue after subsequent six-month break and he makes plenty of appeal.
3 Tomkevi – Won twice in France in 2015 (hurdle/chase) and now bids for a British hat-trick after hurdle victories at Haydock (2m3f, heavy) and Catterick (2m3f, soft) for new stable during the winter; today’s drop back in trip won’t be a problem if he’s fully tuned up after subsequent 267-day absence.
4 The Doorman – Been moved to Ben Haslam’s stable after failing to complete for consecutive chases for Mouse Morris in Ireland; current mark looks feasible and there’s every chance he’ll get back on track at some stage, but his best form is over much further and he might be best watched this time.
5 Desert Island Dusk – Made inauspicious start to hurdling career in 2015 but returned from absence in much better form this spring, winning twice over 2m on good ground at Hexham (handicap/novice); further progress certainly not out of the questions but today’s conditions may not show him in a favourable light.
6 Presenting Rose – Made all twice over 2m in novice company last season and subsequently posted a couple very respectable handicap runs (2m5f/2m4f); back from six-month break today but will be fine on the slow ground and could have a say.
7 Pashtunwali – Irish-raider; remains a maiden after 12 hurdle starts but has been placed twice since fitted with blinkers in recent weeks, more recently when third in a huge field at Gowran (2m, yielding); ought to be suited by the stiff track here and can make his presence felt again.
8 Fred Le Macon – Failed to win when in the care of Alan King but on his third start for Martin Todhunter (24th overall), he hit the target in Class 5 company at Hexham (2m good) last month; remains quite well handicapped on some of his past exploits but had to settle for fourth over 2m4f back at Hexham last time and would make more appeal on faster ground.
myracing Forecast Prices: 2/1 Oldgrangewood, 9/2 Traditional Dancer, 6/1 Tomkevi, 7/1 Pashtunwali, 8/1 Desert Island Dusk, Presenting Rose, 12/1 The Doorman, Fred Le Macon