Redcar looks too difficult for the likely returns, so a cheap approach at Towcester is recommended on Monday.
"An impressive five of the seven in this handicap chase possess a Timeform ‘squiggle’, so we’re surely excused for plumping for one of the two exceptions..."
14:10 - It's between Chebsey Beau and Mercers Court in the first leg. Chebsey Beau is preferred, as he's likely to be second-favourite and his improvement on handicap debut last time can be reasonably put down to the longer trip. Faced with similar conditions here (19 furlongs on a very stiff, right-handed track), we can probably trust Chebsey Beau to run well again.
14:40 - In a race light on those we can trust, Umustbejoking stands out. He ran well combining with a hood and Aidan Coleman at Southwell last time and has tended to run well when he's been expected to. The early betting suggests another good effort is anticipated today, while a stiffer test at the trip holds few fears for him.
15:10 - Both Baccalaureate and Edlomond are seasoned competitors at plating level and are where we start and end our search. With Baccalaureate returning from a winter break, we go with Edlomond alone, his win at Fakenham a couple of weeks back proving both his fitness and form.
15:40 - An impressive five of the seven in this handicap chase possess a Timeform 'squiggle', so we're surely excused for plumping for one of the two exceptions, even if he is the warm favourite. Favoured Nation made a winning start in handicaps last summer and might well have followed up at Ffos Las, still threatening when coming down four out. If he's anywhere near ready on his first start since this is a good opportunity.
16:10 - Or hand had been forced: we're going to need two in this handicap. The chosen pair are Occasionally Yours and Nellie Forbush; consistency is what gets the former in, promise in the case of the latter. Occasinally Yours has run to within 3 lb of his current Timeform Master Rating on all but one of his starts this spring; that was his first run after a break and the gap was 6 lb. Nellie Forbush is fairly treated on her hurdles form, while her Flat efforts help the impression she's left that suggests this longer trip will see her to better effect.
16:40 - On another day we might have chanced Clondaw Hero, the one who has 'done it' over fences up to now, though with just two places up for grabs Top Wood makes more sense. He's delivered every time he's been called upon, with the exception of the ultra-competitive Pertermps Final, and there's no reason to think he'll fail now: he's built to take to chasing and is in top hands.
14:10 - 6
14:40 - 4
15:10 - 4
15:40 - 1
16:10 - 9, 10
16:40 - 7
= 2 lines