Unfortunate on last two starts
Worcester 17:07: Theocrat 1pt win 13/2
Theocrat has run well on both starts over C&D in races run at a slower pace than ideal for him and I think he has a better chance of making it third time lucky than the market suggests.
On the first of those two starts, he raced in midfield in a steadily run race before making a mistake and losing his place a little at the end of the back straight. Bumped along early in the home straight, he made headway to track the leaders before making a bad mistake at 3 out. He recovered to jump 2 out and the last in a share of the lead but he couldn't go with Castel Gandolfo halfway up the run in and he finished fourth.
He encountered another steady pace in the second of those two races and raced keenly under restraint at the back of the field early on. His jumping was sloppy at times but he was travelling well at the back of the main group in seventh turning out of the back straight. He was still going well jumping 2 out in sixth and he made a slight mistake there before being shaken along going to the last. He charged home under driving on the run in but had been given too much to do and finished a close fourth.
Theocrat shaped well again on his latest start at Bangor with a visor on for the first time. Again he raced keenly under restraint towards the back of the field before making good headway going to 3 out. He travelled smooth into contention turning the final bend and still looked to be going well in a share of second just behind the leader at 2 out when he dived at that hurdle and fell.
This race is likely to be run at a good pace with quite a few in the field that often lead or race very prominently and that will suit Theocrat. Given how well he's run in races run at unsuitably slow paces, he looks capable of being better than his rating of 110 under these circumstances.
He is racing without cheekpieces or a visor for the first time since May so there's an unknown over how that will impact him and his jumping is always a slight concern but I think the market is underestimating his chance and any 6/1 or bigger appeals.
Wind op could bring improvement
Worcester 17:07: North Point 0.5pt win 25/1
The other horse who I think the market has overlooked in this race is North Point who is having his second start in a handicap off a lowly mark of 88.
A 22,000gns purchase out of David Elsworth's yard, he showed some promise on hurdling debut at Sedgefield despite jumping poorly and out to the left. He was still just about in contention going to 2 out but was left behind by the leading trio after that and hung left on the run to the last before coming home 24 lengths behind the winner.
He showed nothing in a bog on his next two starts at Ludlow and Catterick but his handicap debut at Exeter was more encouraging even though he was pulled up.
Racing in cheekpieces for the first time, he raced in midfield on the inside and made headway to be at the head of the chasing group going to the third in the back straight before making a mistake. He was in tight at the last in the back but was still racing in third turning the final bend before rapidly losing his position and he was pulled up after 3 out.
North Point has since had a wind op so it may be that a breathing problem was the cause of him stopping to nothing so quickly at Exeter and he could improve accordingly.
There is a worry that he just won't stay two miles over hurdles and it might be that the wind op doesn't help at all but given the potential for improvement I think he's being underestimated a little by the market and any 20/1 or bigger appeals.