IT has been a frustrating time for Victor Dartnall, whose string have been largely out of sorts so far this term.
Having said that, Mic’s Delight ran very well last time at Taunton last month from the same mark as he can today and is one of a number of, potentially, well handicapped animals in the yard.
If there was market support for him in Wincanton’s feature race I might be tempted but the stable had a fancied horse pulled up at Exeter earlier in the week and Mic’s Delight is, reluctantly, overlooked.
Bennys Mist is interesting dropping back in trip but Forest Walker (1.50) has been dropped 2lbs by the handicapper after jumping poorly at Kempton last time although he was still there three out over 3m.
This drop back in trip should suit and, if his jumping passes the test, he can get his head back in front.
Yellow Ball is a fascinating contender in the Somerset National slipping down the weights for Venetia Williams but the mare has disappointed since coming over from France and might need more time to acclimatise.
Monkerty Tunkerty didn’t get home at Plumpton (3m 5f) last time and I’m not convinced is an out and out stayer and the nod goes to Samstown (2.20) who comes down from the Borders for Alistair Whillans.
The selection could make up into a decent stayer in attritional conditions and was doing all his best work too late over 3 miles in the Tommy Whittle at Haydock last time.
At Ludlow Taffy Thomas is returning from a two-month break and running from a mark 3lbs lower than when last successful.
This prestigious amateur rides’ event has attracted a very good field but with the Bowen yard not exactly firing I am going to take a chance with the top-weight Shalimar Fromentro (2.10) who attracted significant support for Nick Williams in a X-Country event at Cheltenham last month.
The grey plies his trade almost exclusively in France these days but in well handicapped on form from his novice chase days.
Rio De Sivola (3.10) can return to winning ways having bumped into one at Ascot last time from a 3lbs lower mark; Richard Johnson takes over in the saddle and the selection can make most in another competitive event.
The third right-handed jumps card of the day is at Market Rasen and I hope Joanne One (2.30) can extend her winning run to four having had a two-month break since sluicing up in a mares’ event at Exeter back in November.