It is great that Newcastle has survived an 8am inspection as we head there with two live chances this afternoon. First to go is Without Conviction, who aims to follow up her recent Hexham win in the mares’ handicap chase. She relished the step up to 2½m when winning last month, and although 10lb higher in the weights, she is open to further improvement back against her own sex.
Rapid Raider has progressed markedly of late and bids to complete a hat-trick in the 2m4f handicap chase. He is now 20lb higher than when beginning his winning spree at Bangor back in October, but he did well to overcome the sharp track at Musselburgh last time and was value for more than the bare margin of victory having idled close home. Coming back in trip isn’t expected to prove an issue, especially with the return to a more galloping course in his favour.
We also have three runners at Ayr on Sunday, with a pair of handicap debutants, Green Vault and Douglas Talking, joined by the veteran Vengeur de Guye. All look to have a good chance of taking home some prize money, with the testing ground sure to bring Green Vault’s stamina into play in the 2m5f conditional jockeys’ novices’ handicap hurdle.
Douglas Talking has taken a few runs to find his feet over hurdles, but he ran his best race when third over course and distance on his latest start and is sure to prove better than a mark of 106 in time, whilst Vengeur de Guye is a former course and distance winner who drops into a 0-100 for the first time in his career. He still has something to offer despite his advancing years.
Yesterday at Wetherby brought two second places, with Readysteadybeau and Caboy both finding one too good. A thorough stayer, Readysteadybeau would have benefited from a stronger gallop in the 3m handicap hurdle, but despite still being green, he ran all the way to the line, pulling 16 lengths clear of the third. Caboy continues to run creditably, his runner-up effort meaning he has now been placed three times from as many starts this season. His winning turn surely isn’t far away.
Lucinda Russell Racing