Although the excitement of the Cheltenham Festival is over for another year, there is still plenty of competitive racing to get stuck into and the FTM team have found betting opportunities at Kempton and Uttoxeter this afternoon...
"Today's four miles should suit Cogry, who looks a class above his opponents today and appears off a good handicap mark. We believe we will see him running a big race this afternoon and he looks a solid each-way bet."
We start with a negative at Kempton in the 14.40, where Always On The Run has been on the drift from an early 3.412/5 out to 4.3100/30. This looks a trappy handicap, where a case can be made for all seven runners and we feel that the Tom George-trained six-year-old could struggle against some lightly-raced and well handicapped novices. Although he won by 12 lengths on his latest outing, his jumping was a bit sketchy and was left in a clear lead at the last when his market rival fell. He carries a 9lb penalty for that victory and we feel there are enough dangers today that he will struggle to finish in the frame. We therefore recommend a place lay on this selection.
For our main win bet we stay at Kempton (15:15) where Townshend has been all the rage this morning, being backed from 4.10 in to 3.55. From Willie Mullins' all-conquering stable this five year-old French import ran with great promise on his first run for the yard when finishing fourth at Fairyhouse last month. The form of that race was given a boost with the third horse, Ibis Du Rheu, winning the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham on Friday. He was balloted out of his intended race at Cheltenham and this looks an ideal opportunity to add to his Auteuil win. Townshend looks to be well treated by the handicapper and we fully expect him today to carry on Mullins' good form with a victory this afternoon.
Finally we have our each-way selection in the day's feature race, the Midlands Grand National (Uttoxeter, 16:10), where there has been solid support for Cogry , whose price has contracted from 11.010/1 in to 9.208/1. Nigel Twiston-Davies' seven-year-old gelding was made favourite for The Welsh Grand National earlier in the year but ran no sort of race in the bottomless conditions, eventually being pulled up after losing touch with the leading group. His reappearance in a Class 2 Warwick Handicap Chase was far more encouraging to his supporters. Despite running over a shorter than ideal trip (2m4f) he stayed on well behind Taquin De Seuil, who was allowed to take his chance in the Ryanair Chase on Thursday. He previously showed good form at Cheltenham in November where he was seen once again running on well at the business end of the race to finish less than three lengths behind Sausolito Sunrise, who franked the form with a 12-length victory at Ascot last month. Today's four miles should suit our selection, who looks a class above his opponents today and appears off a good handicap mark. We believe we will see him running a big race this afternoon and he looks a solid each-way bet.
Place lay Always On The Run @ 2.3411/8 in the 14:40 at Kempton
Back Townshend @ 3.55 in the 15:15 at Kempton
Back Cogry each-way @ 9.28/1 in the 16:10 at Uttoxeter
Follow The Money February P/L
Staked: 87 pts
Returned: 91.7 pts
P/L: + 4.7 pts
For February, calculated before commission, based on prices at time of publication