Rory Delargy was taken by a recent hurdles winner, and thinks he's well treated in a follow-up bid at Wincanton....
"It was obvious that Islandmagee was going like much the best horse from some way out, however, and he’s likely to prove that point today"
Llancarfan handler Evan Williams did this column a good turn when Tornado In Milan won at Plumpton on Monday in the colours of Angela Rucker, and I'm hopeful the same combination can come up trumps again today. The pair are represented in a competitive handicap at Wincanton (15:30) by the progressive Islandmagee, a recruit from the Crawford yard near Larne from which the name derives.
Islandmagee had hinted at improvement before landing a conditional jockeys' contest at Kempton last time under Adam Wedge, and while that was a rather messy contest, there are reasons for believing the son of Heron Island is much better than the bare result. The slow pace rather flattered runner-up Star of Massini, who was able to dictate, and it was no great surprise to see him beaten by the aforementioned Tornado In Milan the other day, but both the winner and the third did well to come from off that stop/start gallop, and Thundering Home backed that point up by winning well at Sandown on Friday. Wedge was at pains to put the selection into the race as late as possible at Kempton, and a minor error at the last mean that he was only able to put his head in front on the line. It was obvious that he was going like much the best horse from some way out, however, and he's likely to prove that point today, when a stronger gallop is sure to suit his style of racing.
There are plenty of dangers despite the small field, and In The Crowd is the only one who can't be fancied. Suerte Al Salto and Tiny Tenor both give the impression there's more to come now they go handicapping for the first time, while Home Run and Xaarcet have been making hay already at this level, and can boast 8 wins between them this season. That quartet all command respect, and the hope is that the current odds on Islandmagee will drift as race time approaches. Such a scenario would be no great concern, for all he makes plenty of appeal at current odds.
Over at Bangor, I'm hoping that the form of another recent selection can be boosted by Bobby Dove in the 17f handicap chase for novices at 16:50. Bobby Dove is a son of 1994 Champion Hurdle winner Flakey Dove, and like most from that renowned damline, races in the red and yellow colours of the Price family. He showed little in his early starts, but has improved over fences of late, and caught my eye when attempting to give Denali Highway a race at Leicester in December. He duly built on that promise when winning next time, and was rather unlucky not to follow up at Ludlow a week ago, looking sure to overhaul Oranger when a last-fence error saw him lose vital momentum. His jumping remains a minor worry, but the fences at Bangor are more forgiving than most, and this looks a weaker contest.
Tara Rose was suited by the run of the race when giving an idling Violin Davis a scare here last time, and may be flattered by that bare form, especially with the drop in trip a slight negative, and the main danger looks to be Victor Dartnall's Starsky des Mottes, who is gradually progressive, and ran his best race when second at Uttoxeter last time. A 5 lb rise for that defeat looks enough, though, and Bobby Dove looks the clear pick of the weights.