Plumpton is the principal jumps card on Easter Sunday, so that's where the Placepot bid comes from.
"...a banker on Court Minstrel looks the only course of action. Anything north of 2.56/4 looks a good bet for him to win the race."
14:30 - At first glance, two of the eight being taken out would appear to make this opening novice tougher, but on closer inspection we make a happier discovery. Defectors Top Gamble and King Spirit would have made this a competitive race, both possessing form at least on a par with the likes of Bebinn, but with them out there's not many to match that one's second at Towcester earlier this month. Under different circumstances, we may have thrown in Shine In Time, too, but with tougher tests to come on this card a banker looks the more sensible option.
15:00 - In a 0-95 handicap chase such as this, Ballyman is about as fine a Placepot prospect as you could wish for. He has plenty of course form, a good completion rate, hasn't been out of the first three all season and, crucially, has run to within 2 lb of his current Timeform master rating on each occasion. Add in the fact that he's a front runner, the type we like to see in small fields (especially at a track like this) and Ballyman is an obvious starting point. Nonetheless, this race is trappy enough that we need a second option, Red Anchor being the most obvious option. He's taken quite well to fences in just two starts thus far, winning over this trip at Lingfield, and he has excuses for failing over hurdles here last time, an extended 25 furlongs just too far for him.
15:30 - This and leg six are probably the toughest obstacles we'll face, so it's permissible to look at three in the third. As it's Easter Sunday, a day founded on supposed resurrection, we're going to include a couple with backclass that may have things fall right to stage a resurrection of their own. Last Shot has some decent Flat form to his name and hinted towards better to come over fences this season, often travelling well but finding little, though this test of around two miles away from testing ground is the sharpest he's faced and makes him well worth chancing. Our other resurrection man is the appropriately-named To Live, who looked a handicap plot in his early days but is yet to take off in handicaps, his best coming when third in a fairly good race of its type at Leicester last time. He showed much better form in France before joining his current yard and gets himself in our perm here. Finally, Lough Coi is worthy of inclusion as he'd looked to be getting the hang of chasing when winning his two starts prior to last time, which arguably came too soon. He's been given a short break since and would enter calculations if back on song.
16:00 - It could have been the Betfair Hurdle or even the County, but Court Minstrel has wound up making his long-awaited handicap debut in the Sussex Champion Hurdle, which does boast an admirable prize fund but feels very much like the shallow end for a horse that should by right be contesting races (and not even necessarily handicaps) at the big spring festivals. Ever since a BHA rating of 131 was handed to him a couple of months ago, we at Timeform have been waiting for him to enter a handicap, and with that day now on us and none of his rivals anywhere near him on adjusted Timeform ratings a banker on Court Minstrel looks the only course of action. Anything north of 2.56/4 looks a good bet for him to win the race.
16:35 - A divisive maiden hurdle, as on one hand Looking On doesn't deserve to be around the 1.664/6 mark, but at the same time he is by far the most attractive Placepot prospect in this field. With Plumpton likely to play to his strengths even more than Huntingdon, bank on Looking On as it'd be a surprise were he to find himself out of the first three.
17:05 - As promised, this is a tough leg to finish on, with none of the six able to be trusted to any great degree. Somerby is about as solid as we're likely to get, the idea being that he'll relish this sort of test and may get a soft lead as he bids to do so. Soutine is also sufficiently interesting based on his third-placed finish over a similar trip at Huntingdon a couple of starts back; if deriving the expected benefit from his chasing debut, he's likely to be thereabouts. Finally, slot in Alteranthela, who actually has sound C&D form (second to improver Gemini Ahhs last time) and remains on the same mark.
14:30 - 6
15:00 - 2, 6
15:30 - 1, 2, 4
16:00 - 6
16:35 - 7
17:05 - 1, 3, 4
= 18 lines