Reported conditions at Wincanton wouldn't normally make much appeal for attempting to crack the Placepot, but a speculative, small-stakes approach is advised on today's card.
"At current odds, Musical Wedge wouldn’t be as good value as Sandy’s Double, Ratify or even Ballyegan for win purposes. However, he’s been so consistent this winter..."
14:25 - Even rarer than tackling a Placepot like today's would be banking on a hurdling debutant, but that's the recommendation in leg one. With the idea that both Bois des Aigles and Phantom Prince, the pair in this novice hurdle with previous form to their name, are more for the long-term, Quick Decision looks the cheapest and most realistic option to take us through. A bumper winner at this course on similarly testing ground, Quick Decision then shaped second-best behind a promising David Pipe runner at Exeter last month. Although essentially Flat-bred, Quick Decision has some point form to his name, which gives us sufficient confidence that he'll see us through.
14:55 - There are just the four runners in this handicap chase, but with the stated aim being to keep lines to a minimum we're going to be more strict on out entry criteria than we might normally be. Basically, Don Pooleoni, though unexposed, hasn't done enough yet to warrant interest from his opening handicap mark, while Miss Tenacious is yet to take to fences well enough to make us want to have her on side. That leaves the in-form pair of Bobby Dove and Little Jimmy.
15:25 - As in leg two, our desire to keep this perm inexpensive helps to drive towards our selection. At current odds, Musical Wedge wouldn't be as good value as Sandy's Double, Ratify or even Ballyegan for win purposes. However, he's been so consistent this winter, travelling and jumping with fluency all the while, that he represents the best way to get through this leg with just one dart. If you're feeling flush, take Ballyegan and Sandy's Double instead, but the official advice is to bank on Musical Wedge.
15:55 - Sidney Melbourne would appear to be an obvious place to start, though whether he'll be ideally suited by conditions, combined with cramped odds, is enough for us to leave him to one side. Instead, take the pair of Weekend Millionair and Decimus. Both have form at this course on fairly similar ground, while they did enough on their respective latest starts to suggest they're back in good heart: Weekend Millionair finishing third off the back of a 10-week break and Decimus pulling hard when runner-up over three miles at Taunton.
16:25 - Two non-runners brings us down to seven in leg five, so a couple will be needed. Shuil Royale has run okay without making the places on his last two starts, but crucially this is a much lesser race than either of those two and he's been quickly dropped to a realistic mark, too. Secondly, take the quirky, but latterly consistent, Milarrow, who like Shuil Royale could reap the benefits of returning to calmer waters today.
16:55 - It's not very imaginative, but with his main two rivals on form out of the race One Conemara really ought to win this closing leg for Nicky Henderson. The step up in trip will prove no problem at all judging by his convincing hurdles debut win at Ludlow, while he's been given ample time to get over what turned into a gruelling test that day.
14:25 - 4
14:55 - 3, 4
15:25 - 1
15:55 - 3, 8
16:25 - 2, 4
16:55 - 1
= 8 lines
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