In what is a weak handicap, GWORN could bounce back to form. The now 9-year-old has a lot of water under the bridge and is almost literally half the horse he used to be (rated 90 at his peak), but shaped nicely over C&D in October, finishing fast having rallied after getting outpaced. His sole run since was disappointing as he came in for market support but it was at Southwell and tackling fibresand for the first time may not have suited. Now a few lbs lower than the course run, with Aled Beech able to claim his 5lbs, he is an interesting player back here and looks quite underestimated in the betting at 20/1.
SHALLOW HAL is starting to reach “what will we do with him now?” territory as he again failed to get near his juvenile form when mid-division over C&D four weeks ago. It was a much better effort, however, with Karl Burke’s charge only beaten 2-lengths at the line and as things transpired, his draw did him no favours with the main action among those positioned lower down. He didn’t come home quickly but certainly didn’t crack altogether and I’d take promise from that as it was his first run after a wind-op. Horses can improve from their opening spin after the operation and if this fellow does, he’s capable of better from a lowering mark.
MUTABAAHY doesn’t get his head in-front too often and is usually backed like one who is expected to do better. That was again the case at Chelmsford last time he went off 7/1 despite a no-show on his previous outing. However, having emerged from the highest stall on a turning track, he failed to get any proper cover, raced keenly and had a wide trip. Given that he was just a few lengths behind the winner in a race that has had boosts since, I think he’s not far off hitting top form again and he could prove very overpriced returned to tapeta after going down another 3lbs in the weights. It’s also worth noting that a hood goes back on for the first time in a long time as both of his wins and five of his seven seconds were gained in one. Interesting!
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