Rhys Williams has analysed the Easter Monday action and has two selections in the mares' handicap hurdle at Plumpton.
"Both those runs came over about 2m and I think the step up to 2m4½f today will suit as she’s clearly lacked the necessary pace over the shorter trips."
This test to suit unexposed pair
While much of the focus today will be on Fairyhouse and Kempton, I prefer to look elsewhere and I think the mares' handicap hurdle at Plumpton presents an opportunity. The market leader has hardly looked the most straightforward of rides in the past and I think the market has underestimated a couple of her rivals.
Petite Dame was well backed when favourite for a bumper at Sligo last summer when in the care of Declan Queally. She failed to justify the support in finishing seventh but showed some promise on a couple of starts after that at Galway in a bumper and on hurdling debut at Tramore.
She moved to Alex Hales following that run at Tramore and made her first start for him at Market Rasen. She raced on the inside in midfield from the start and after landing a bit flat-footed at the last in the back on the final circuit, was briefly nudged along to stay with the leading group. She was still travelling well turning the final bend but was soon left behind when the pace quickened before staying on into fifth.
On her most recent start at Catterick, she was held up and couldn't get anywhere near the leaders at any stage before unseating at the last when in a distant third.
Both those runs came over about 2m and I think the step up to 2m4½f today will suit as she's clearly lacked the necessary pace over the shorter trips. Her action also suggests that the better ground will suit and she's small so the light weight and small field is a positive for her too with less chance of her being crowded at any stage.
The market support for her on debut suggests that she was showing a good level of ability at home and I think that may finally start to be shown on the track now that she's racing over a trip and on ground that will suit her. An opening mark of 99 gained under unsuitable circumstances could prove to be lenient and any 3/1 or bigger appeals.
Howdilyoudo was pulled up on handicap debut at Sedgefield last time when reported to have never been travelling. That run came on soft ground and I think the return to a quicker surface will suit her.
She showed promise on both starts in novice hurdles at Market Rasen and Ludlow. On hurdling debut at Market Rasen, she was awkward at the first and landed steeper than ideal at the second and third. She went out to the left at the first two down the back and was pushed along going to the last in the back. She maintained touch with the leading group and was in a share of fifth turning into the home straight. Pushed along, she couldn't challenge the leaders but ran on well, despite going left at 2 out, to finish fourth. The first three home are now rated 138, 127 and 139 so she did well to get within 18 lengths of the winner.
On her second start over hurdles at Ludlow, she raced keenly under restraint at the back of the field early on and jumped out to the left at the first two hurdles. She continued to go left at the hurdles and made a couple of mistakes at the two hurdles in the back straight on the final circuit but still travelled well leaving the back in a close fifth. She hung left off the final bend and made another mistake at 3 out before running on under hands and heels to finish third.
Some horses just don't take to the equine rollercoaster that is Sedgefield so I can forgive that bad run last time when she reportedly never travelled.
A left-handed track will clearly be more suitable for her and I think the return to quicker ground will suit too. She should also be suited by the likely good pace, with Getariver and Bolt N Brown both potential front runners, as that will help her to settle better in the early stages.
It may be that she only starts to fulfil her potential next season but I think she's been overlooked in the market and any 7/1 or bigger appeals.
RHYS' PROFIT/LOSS 2021