Alan Dudman looks ahead to an excellent card at Huntingdon on Tuesday, and he is hoping two trainers that are very much in form will hit the target...
"He has gone up 4lb after bumping into Kenyan at the Sussex track, but that horse has been improving at a low level. The trip was too short that day over 2m, as Cheltenham De Vaige has raced over further, and that test was insufficient."
14:10 Huntingdon - Back So Celebre
This is a cracking little race, well I say little - it's a 0-150 handicap hurdle. Leading trainers Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls are represented here, with the former holding a strong hand with the 143-rated Call Me Lord. He looked a fine prospect when scoring at Sandown as a juvenile - but he'll need to improve on his jumping.
The bet for me is the Ian Williams-trained So Celebre.
He was a fast-progressive horse last term with wins at Huntingdon and Ascot. The victory at Ascot was a decent juvenile handicap from a mark of 125 - and he travelled ever-so-well in beating the 132-rated Dolos with ease. In fact, by nearly three lengths. He looked ahead of his mark there, and he races off a 5lb higher rating today.
So Celebre likes decent ground, and he'll get that today. He also has fitness on his side with a recent spin at Kempton under his belt, and he's a horse that needs a bit of pace to aim at to aid his strong-travelling style. It may be a small field, but Unison has made it, and a couple of others sit handy.
His trainer is a wonderful dual-purpose handler, as advertised by London Prize at the weekend.
15:10 Huntingdon - Back Cheltenham De Vaige
The Fergal O'Brien yard are enjoying a great season, especially with bumper horses. Mercy Mercy Me's victory at Sandown on Sunday netted O'Brien his 33rd winner of the campaign - equal to the total of 33 for the whole of 2015/16.
The trainer sends Cheltenham De Vaige to Huntingdon for this handicap hurdle, and if he replicates his run at Plumpton last time - he will go close under Paddy Brennan today.
I expect him to be fairly popular in the market as the field is made up of out-of-form and older horses. This five-year-old is one of the younger ones, and the Plumpton excursion was his first outing for the new trainer having previously been with Mark Wall - and he clearly improved for the switch.
He has gone up 4lb after bumping into Kenyan at the Sussex track, but that horse has been improving at a low level. The trip was too short that day over 2m, as Cheltenham De Vaige has raced over further, and that test was insufficient.
Stepping up in trip today is a big plus for a yard in form, and he'll be fitter too after blowing away the cobwebs last month.
Tuesday's Recommended Bets
Back So Celebre 0.5pt @ 7.206/1 in the 14:10 at Huntingdon
Back Cheltenham De Vaige 1pt @ BSP in the 15:10 at Huntingdon
Alan's Bets of the Day - P/L
This week so far: -4.00pts
Previous week: +3.75pts