Good record when fresh
Trip, ground and handicap rating are spot-on
Second-season Novice in calmer waters
The market has the Emma Lavelle runner General Medrano too short in here off of this rating of 134, and you'll remember recently that I wanted to be against the runner-up from the race at Huntingdon, In The Air, at Sandown when with Xcitations. The Huntingdon race clocked a very slow time figure, and he is up nine pounds for that effort and into a deeper contest today.
Martator shaped with encouragement at Aintree behind Master Chewy before his jumping went to pot, and he looks like a speedy customer. He could play a hand off a reduced rating, but this tight track won't help him in the jumping department, so he must be much better than the 29-length defeat here.
Brave Kingdom is a horse of promise on a going day, but the return after 690 days off the track and the absence of Harry Cobden is off-putting.
Hermino AA frustratingly unseated at the first at Ascot for us 16 days ago and is surely well handicapped when given the right opportunity. That could come today, but I am not a fan of Novices making their chase debut around this tight track where fences come thick and fast, and he might be good for another day.
That leaves Ree Okka - 4/15.00 on the Betfair Sportsbook - a once favourite for a Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle at Sandown in February last year off of 1lb higher. He returns to the track under Lorcan Murtagh for Harry Fry, who always tends to have his horses fit off a break, and with a good record fresh despite finishing runner-up on both seasonal returns, he can be backed with confidence first time out.
The selection ran well between trips of 2m4f and 3m in four attempts over fences last season when tackling deeper races than this, and his chase debut saw him attempt to give a six pounds to one now rated 14 lbs higher at Aintree (Monbeg Genius in fourth).
He was caught well too far out of his ground at Exeter when four fences were omitted due to low sun in a race favouring those on the slow gallop before he went close at Ludlow 1/2 a length behind a course specialist who dictated another slowly run affair.
He signed off last year in today's headgear with a good third at Chepstow over 3m, but his stamina was exposed, and he paid for getting into a battle with Monbeg Genuis, who is now rated 15lbs higher.
The freshen-up, drop back in trip, and now holding an experience advantage over many of his rivals in calmer waters all look like ingredients for him to get off the mark in this sphere. His earlier Novice Hurdle form entitles him to more respect than the market has given him off of this rating of 129.
He could be hard to pick up around here. I hope Lorcan Murtagh uses his experience and attempts to return to forceful tactics.
Back him at 4/15.00 or bigger.
Al Dudman has found an 18/1 Daily Double at Exeter on Monday - read that here!