Buoyed by a win at Carlisle yesterday, Keith Melrose is sticking to jumps with Fakenham today.
"Pentiffic's performance in last spring’s Grimthorpe Chase is still fresh in the mind, that exactly the sort of effort that could see him go close in a three-mile race at a sharp track like this."
14:00 - A conspicuously low-grade affair in the context of this card, though there are a few that raise some interest. Admittedly, none are ideal types for the Placepot, but if we throw in both Bingo des Mottes and Dot's Delight we should be safe; both almost certainly have it in them to win from their respective marks and all we need is one to come close to their best.
14:30 - Houston Dynimo would have probably represented a safe conveyance had he stood his ground, but as it is the path looks to be clear for There's No Panic, certainly for our purposes as chief form rival Tour d'Argent has something to prove following an unconvincing debut over fences last time.
15:05 - It's easy to see the case for favourite Vulcanite winning this race, but there are better options for those in search of the Placepot. For starters there's Laudatory, an improved performer over the summer who arguably should have won a listed handicap at Market Rasen late last month. He's sensibly been given a short break to get over a hard race there and is only 3 lb higher today. The quirky Porgy is also included, as he's still got plenty of room to manoeuvre on his Flat form and looks the type to be ideally suited by the unrivalled speed test Fakenham provides.
15:40 - This is a cracking little handicap chase, evidenced by the presence of the likes of Romanesco, Alpine Breeze and No Loose Change. The second-named of that trio makes most appeal as a strong traveller who's proven over the trip, while he certainly copes with this course as he'd have won here last week but for a last-fence mishap. We're also going to take the slightly more left-field choice of Pentiffic. His performance in last spring's Grimthorpe Chase is still fresh in the mind, that exactly the sort of effort that could see him go close in a three-mile race at a sharp track like this. It's also worth noting that his yard is going better than is often the case at this time of year.
16:15 - It's time for something of a risk. Close Touch looked an exciting prospect when winning a bumper in May and is highly likely to prove the best among this field, but he has fitness to prove and is bred to stay further than two miles. As a result, we will take Amok, who put up a most promising debut over hurdles at Market Rasen just last month and will surely have no problem with whizzing round Fakenham.
16:50 - A bit like the first race, this final leg contains a few interesting low-grade horses who aren't exactly ideal for our purposes: whether Pistol Basc will improve immediately for the switch from Ferdy Murphy to Graeme MacPherson or if Local Present will deign to continue his good form for Brian Ellison are not the sort of options the Placepot punter will normally want to have.
It's another risky play, but my advice would be to bank on Vinomore, a new recruit to the Longsdon yard who was given an educational introduction to chasing last time and has more than enough form in bumpers/over hurdles to think she's up to defying a BHA mark of 92. The theory is that, should the market speak against Vinomore or strongly for her rivals, a place lay to cover our backs is always an option.
14:00 - 1, 4
14:30 - 2
15:05 - 4, 9
15:40 - 7, 12
16:15 - 1
16:50 - 4
= 8 lines