We visit Carlisle for Wednesday's crack at the Placepot...
"Chac du Cadran scarcely ran a bad race last season prior to coming unstuck in the Midlands National on his final start..."
13:10 - It would be a major surprise were Azza not to win this race handsomely. She won a listed hurdle for newcomers at Auteuil last time and has since joined David Pipe. None of her rivals here were any great shakes on the Flat and, all told, it would be a fool's errand to attempt to exclude Azza here.
13:40 - Early money for Hollow Blue Sky is certainly worth noting as he could be well ahead of his opening chase mark, but his lengthy absence makes him a risky Placepot proposition. Instead, take The Nephew and Trefel's Toscar, both of which have greater experience over fences and are guaranteed to be fit. The Nephew's claims are obvious on recent form, but Trefel's Toscar needs some expansion. He's been strictly below form on his last two starts, but weak finishing has been to blame and he's now been dropped in trip. He could just be a horse that finds little for pressure, but it's worth the chance on balance.
14:10 - Normally we'd shy away from short-priced hurdling debutants, but not here. With The Liquidator having such high-level bumper form (fourth in Champion Bumper and won Punchestown's equivalent) and the only one of his rivals at single-figure odds being the similarly-inexperienced Spookydooky, banking on the favourite is the only logical choice.
14:40 - Stamina- and, by extension, fitness- will play a big part in this three-mile handicap chase. In that sense, we are taking something of a risk by taking seasonal returners Chac du Cadran and Dusky Bob, but on balance they represent the best options in a field of typically hit-and-miss staying chasers. Chac du Cadran scarcely ran a bad race last season prior to coming unstuck in the Midlands National on his final start, while Dusky Bob runs his race more often than not and tends to find plenty for pressure.
15:15 - Big Casino falls into a broadly similar category to stablemate Hollow Blue Sky, being interesting for win purposes but not so much where we're concerned. The progressive pair of Rattlin and Knockraheen are preferred. Both are still potentially ahead of their marks raised 5 lb for their respective handicap debuts and will find a stiff two and a half miles here to be right up their street.
15:50 - With eight places still available in this novice handicap at the time of writing, we can afford to bank on Swaledale Lad. He's really found his feet since the spring, winning a couple of times over hurdles and clicking over fences when finishing a clear second over C&D earlier this month. Up just 2 lb for his efforts there, Swaledale Lad ought to be on the premises again.
13:10 - 1
13:40 - 5, 8
14:10 - 10
14:40 - 1, 4
15:15 - 2, 10
15:50 - 1
= 8 lines
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