A field of nine stayers go to post for the penultimate race of the day at Wincanton on Thursday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: It’s definitely about time that MOORLANDS MIST returned to the winners enclosure for Evan Williams. He has run well on all three of his starts this term and has now dropped to a mark of 104, which is 21lb lower than this hurdling mark. He can take full advantage of that fact with conditions to suit and Tom O’Brien taking the ride to notch up his first chasing success for the very much inform Williams’ yard. He can be chased home by Snowball, who if in the same vein of form as his last run can put up another admirable display.
1 SOMERSET LIAS – Likeable nine year old who has gotten back to form the last twice, running another good race when rallying well to finish second at Taunton two weeks ago (2m 7f, Good). He has however been hit with a 3lb rise which makes this much more difficult, having to carry 12st 1lb against some potentially well treated types. If given a soft lead he could have place claims if managing to burn some of his rivals off but others make more appeal for win purposes.
2 MOORLANDS MIST – Has been in good form this season for Evan Williams without managing to get his front, again running an admirable race when third at Bangor in january, just lacking a final gear change (3m, Soft). As a result the handicapper has dropped him a further 3lb and he’s now on his lowest mark over fences. This mark is 21lb below his hurdling one so in that respect he looks incredibly well treated in conditions that will suit. This looks the right time for him to take his first victory over fences and looks the most likely candidate by far for a yard that are going very, very well at present.
3 KNIGHT OFTHE REALM – Very inconsistent sort whose record this season reads PPP2F (the last three over fences), far too many letters for comfort. His penultimate second at Hereford was a fair effort and his best over fences thus far, with his fall at Warwick telling us little as he came down after only three fences. Judging on his hurdling mark he should have more to give in these sphere, but he is very risky at present.
4 TIKKAPICK – Running well this season for Colin Tizzard but is still struggling to get his head in front and although his latest second at FOntwell was another solid effort, he is now 0-19 under rules. Goes up markedly in trip today which should suit as he has stayed this far in the past, so he is certainly interesting despite that record. Tom Scudamore takes the ride again and he looks to have solid claims in this, with heavy ground unlikely to be an issue for him. Has to be respected and looks a main contender.
5 SHANANN STAR – Gained her first success over fences at the age of eleven on the fourteenth attempt, winning over C&D comfortably three weeks ago. As a result he has been raised 8lb which makes things tougher but he has conditions to suit and if running with the same zest for today’s run he likely has a big run in him for Gordon Edwards, with Paige Fuller all but negating the penalty with her 7lb claim. Not one to discount and has to be respected, though others are much better treated.
6 YOU TOO PET – Maiden under rules after seven attempts, though he is a three time point to point winner. Running respectably on occasion for Jennifer Mason, finishing second at Hereford in a similar race in January (3m 1f, Soft), but failed to back that up when well beaten at Plumpton a few weeks later (3m 1f, Heavy). Lightly raced for his age and still has potential in this sphere, which does make him interesting with conditions to suit. Place claims at the very least and looks one of the likelier types if on a going day.
7 SNOWBALL – Got off the mark over fences when winning at Towcester three weeks ago (3m, Soft) in poor conditions, running on strongly to snatch the lead in the final 75 yards. He has been given a 7lb rise as a result but judging by his hurdling mark better can be expected in this sphere, as his mark is still 3lb below his hurdling one. He’ll appreciate the muddy conditions on offer and looks likely to put up another valiant effort under Liam Tredwell if in the same vein of form, though he has never been the most consistent. Cannot be ignored but does come with risks attached.
8 IN THE TUB – Lightly raced eight year old who has shown little over fences thus far for Carroll Gray, though has been set some far too difficult tasks this season. He has been beaten at odds of 66/1, 200/1 and 200/1 on his last three starts and his latest fifth at Exeter offered little encouragement. Down in Grade makes him slightly interesting, but there is little evidence to suggest he can be involved today and is dismissed.
9 GENERAL GIRLING – Two time winner over hurdles in late 2015 but has shown little this season, tailed off after returned from a 13 month break before pulling up at both Fontwell and Plumpton. He also shown next to nothing on his two previous chasing runs and it’s very hard to make a case for him in this race, despite having conditions to suit. Look elsewhere.