Racing column: Holywell can find winning form

First published in Sport

AT the time of writing no inspections planned for this afternoon’s jumps cards and there is a valuable Beginners’ Chase at Catterick where Holywell (2.10) can go one better than when a fast-finishing second over C&D last month on his penultimate start.

The selection only got as far as the first at Wincanton last time and needs a stiffer test of stamina but David Pipe’s Shotavodka will ensure there is no hanging about and I just think Holywell might be being plotted up by connections for a valuable handicap over further later in the season. He did land the Pertemps Final (extended 3m) at the Cheltenham Festival last March in first time blinkers before running another cracker when runner up in the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree and is rated 157 over the smaller obstacles.

Even if he wins today he is not likely to be rated higher than 135 over fences and he might just turn up at one of the big spring Festivals for his shrewd connections. The nap is Shanen (2.40) who drops back in trip having failed to stay at Kelso off a 2lb lower when last seen back in October and Denis O’Regan, who rode the horse at the Borders track, keeps the mount.

A dual Bumper winner the forecast soft ground is no concern and I would be very disappointed if he didn’t go there or thereabouts.

The Donald McCain trained runner Take The Cash was bought for £26,000 at Cheltenham back in November having finished runner up in his sole p-t-p in his native Ireland.

Preference is for Zeroshadesofgrey (4.15), however, who might have been a shade unlucky at Huntingdon last time and the grey is taken to go one better this afternoon.

I am convinced the ground is the key to Faith Keeper and he must be opposed on soft ground although he is likely to go off favourite for Southwell’s opener. The Twiston-Davies yard did us a favour at Leicester on Tuesday and dour stayer Jaunty Journey (12.50) is 5lbs lower than when scoring at Uttoxeter last May and this is very much a drop in Grade for the 11-year-old.

Stormhoek will ensure there is no hanging around dropping back to the minimum trip but I felt Cooldine Run’s (1.20) turn was imminent when third over C&D last time behind Decent Lord who is 8lbs worse off when you take into account the jockey’s claim on the selection.

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