Cheltenham off, and the same comments have seemed to apply each day this week – today’s ground is soft or heavy at all meetings and ability to go on it and stay will be essential qualities to look for in trying to find in some winners.
Again, we have a candidate, today in the form of FINAL FLING who goes for the Certax Durham Handicap Hurdle over Newcastle’s three miles.
He has raced 17 times in all, mainly hurdles and has three wins to his name, two on ground with plenty of give and all over three miles.
The gelding, trained by Rose Dobbin, managed a double in his last two races in the winter of 2018/19 and then was off the course for nearly two years before making a really promising comeback three weeks ago when fourth at Kelso.
Held up, he came wide at the last bend before running on under hands and heels against the near rail to get fourth, just behind Calivigny.
The latter has boosted the form by winning at Ayr on Wednesday, whilst the winner, Court Baloo, has also come out again since and taken gold at Kelso.
In context, the form is excellent and Final Fling goes off the same mark of 101 today.
MR LOVE is an obvious danger.
He won easily at Huntingdon 12 days ago over an extended three miles on good ground but is up 7lb today and is not certain to relish the heavy going.
He has placed, not winning efforts when he has raced on such a surface and the progeny of his sire Winged Love have an 11% win stat on it – reasonable, but not compelling.
At 10/11 he looks overpriced.
FARLAM KING is being backed and is second on BTO ratings and best in five of their categories.
He is on a long losing run, though, and DR TIME, vastly improved with cheek-pieces applied the last two times can get a place at around the 6/1 mark.
If he stays clear of whatever kept him away from the racecourse, Final Fling looks just about an each-way bet to nothing at 4/1 in a ten horse field.
All systems go for another National bid.
Setback suffered in Clonmel victory.
Another gutsy display at Huntingdon.
Seven jockeys were given 10-day suspensions.
Hilly Way triumph for one-time Arkle fancy.