On the eve of the start of the turf flat season we have three all-weather flat cards to digest in Britain and Ireland and there is a fascinating 10f fillies’ maiden with two beautifully bred debutantes Elpida and Martinette(3.30) with marginal preference for the latter trained by Charlie Hills.
Charlie Hills, and his father before him, normally has his string well forward at this time of the year and although the betting will provide valuable clues as to the precociousness of the newcomer she gets the nod over the David Simcock trained newcomer who cost $310,000 as a yearling.
At Wolverhampton Dreese (5.55) can land the opener on his second start for James Tate having shaped as if he possesses a fair amount of ability when third over C&D back in November. He wasn’t too far behind a 74-rated animal on debut and he is entitled to improve for that initial experience and take a modest median auction maiden which won’t take much winning.
The Tate yard can follow up with Desert Ranger who scored on debut over today’s C&D and may have been let into this 0-70 lightly given he was green and had the worst of the draw to overcome.
Mark Johnston’s Sherston is the obvious danger having run well over 7f at Lingfield last time after a short break giving every indication that a return to six would be ideal.
The handicapper dropped him 1lb for that run so he, too, sneaks into this classified event but he is more exposed than Desert Ranger who gets the nod.
Wetherby play host to the feature jumps card and as long as the ground is no worse than good to soft I like the chances of Foundation Man (3.55) in the Handicap Chase for Jonjo O’Neill returning from a short lay off.
The selection has always hinted he would make up into a decent chaser and ran well on all three starts over the larger obstacles in the first half of the season including when winning at Kempton off a 6lb lower mark in November.
In the opener Nesterenko (2.20) can defy a 6lb penalty for Nicky Henderson with leading conditional Nico de Boinville excellent value for his 3lb claim.
The selection won at Doncaster earlier on in the season on decent ground and, although he is hardly one of the stable stars, he can follow up as long as there is no drastic deterioration in conditions.
At Newcastle Dartford Warbler (4.15) can score for the 2013 Grand National winning combination of Sue Smith and Ryan Mania although he is another for whom significant rain would be a negative.
The selection won off a 2lb higher mark back in September and ran well for a long way reverting to timber when fifth over an additional half mile at Haydock earlier in the month.
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