Today sees the chase debut of CHAMP (2.05). At 8/13 he doesn’t appeal as a betting proposition but if he translates his hurdling form then he has a performance rating that would have won this race in each of the last 3 years. His trainer has a 21% strike-rate at this course and reports that Champ “has done incredibly well over the Summer”.
The 3.10 looks a fascinating handicap hurdle. DINGO DOLLAR has a rating above the median for this race and as a front-runner has an automatic pace advantage. He goes particularly well on a flat, left handed track which he has here. However, I am told that his main target is the Ladbroke Trophy over fences (a race in which he was 3rd last year) and that it was always the plan to have a prep race in a hurdle beforehand. That casts doubts upon his fitness today and Alan King has also left off the pieces that he usually wears (and no doubt will be back on when he comes back here for the Ladbroke Trophy). There is also a suspicion that the rain will not have helped him. One to watch at 18/1 this morning, with a view to an ante-post bet for the Ladbroke Trophy if he runs with promise today?
In the same race, I am drawn to ALRIGHTJACK @ 13/2 as he has always been held in high regard by Jamie Snowden. He has recorded a timefigure that is above the median for this race and the stable is statistically “in form”, but the key to progression could be the 3m trip. Last time, Alrightjack ran an excellent seasonal debut over 2m 4f at Chepstow (despite hitting a couple of hurdles). He has a dosage profile of 1-0-8-4-3 which is an index of 0.45 and a negative centre of distribution of -0.50. This, along with his running style over lesser distances suggest that 3m will suit very well. As a prominent racer, he has a small pace advantage and looks reasonable value as there are other progressive hurdlers in the field. Nine runners make it a reasonable each-way race.