Picks Lad over fences for the first time for Derham
Blackmore an excellent profit over five years
Alan Dudman has a 7/18.00 double for Thursday
A nice early start with today's two selections and the second race at Punchestown over fences doesn't look the strongest and Aslukwoodhavit will hopefully make a winning start on his chase debut.
The 7yo bolted up by 16L at Tramore in the spring (in April) and was in love with the soft ground with the sharp track on that occasion and recorded a reasonable time - even if the race wasn't particularly good.
That Maiden Hurdle victory was after a 137 day break, so it shouldn't be a problem out today after another break.
He did disappoint on his handicap debut on quicker ground at Punchestown at the back end of last season, but he made a bad error which put paid to any sort of chance of gaining a place.
Henry De Bromhead hasn't messed around over hurdles with him with just three starts and a chasing debut today is eagerly awaited, especially in good hands with Rachael Blackmore on, and she shows a level stakes profit of +38.97 from all of her rides at the track in the last five seasons.
Soft or heavy seems to suit him as he ran well in very testing ground on his debut at the track when trained by Willie Mullins.
Harry Derham has been in decent nick as we head into Thursday, with the youthful looking trainer 5-17 at 29% recently, Picks Lad is one I am looking forward to seeing over fences on not only his first start chasing, but also first for Derham since leaving Kim Bailey.
The step up to 3m over hurdles brought out the best of him last season as he signed off with a win (albeit in the stewards' room) at Taunton.
That performance was in keeping with a pedigree for stamina, as his grand-dam was fairly prolific and got 3m2f and Derham is clearly keen to get him chasing as soon as possible.
The good to soft conditions at Market Rasen today will be similar to those at Taunton with the win, although he did go well in a bumper on debut for Micky Hammond at Ayr on officially good.
He caught the eye in a Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow last term over a completely inadequate 2m and looked very much a chaser in the making that day.
At 2/13.00 and backed into 7/42.75, it's just about a price I can deal with, and Derham can continue his good start to the campaign.
*Click here for Mark Milligan's Thursday tips