1.25 – Bet Goodwin Novices’ Hurdle
Three runners go to post for the opening Novice Hurdle and Gaelic Park looks the pick of the three on form. A winner of a point-to-point and bumper, the Charlie Longsdon-trained seven-year-old lost by half-a-length to Deere Mark in a Novice Hurdle at Hereford last month and the winner franked that form by scoring again at Kempton on Saturday. Goodwin Racing will likely provide the strongest challenge on his hurdling debut for Chris Gordon and Tom Cannon. He wasn’t beaten far in his two bumper runs, including when fourth to the promising Captain Teague here on December 20. Flemen’s Tipple will have to take a big step up on his previous three hurdle starts (11th, 7th, 10th) to be competitive.
Selection: Gaelic Park
1.55 – Buy The Plumpton History Book Now Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase
En Coeur has been raised 8lbs from his fourth course win here on January 2 when he benefited from a classy ride from Michael Nolan to come from the back and scoot clear up the home straight. Daniel Sansom takes the reigns today and trainer Seamus Mullins will hope En Coeur can be competitive again off his new mark. Dame Du Soir sneaks into this off a mark of 106 and she should run well, having shown a liking for testing ground in the past. Sabbathical’s form has been hit and miss this season and he is hard to trust after being pulled up at Ffos Las 13 days ago. Shaw’s Cross hasn’t won since December 2019 but has finished second on four of his last six starts (including here on December 20 and the form of that race has worked out well). He should be trusted to make the places again here under jockey Aaron Anderson, who will arrive full of confidence after riding a double at Sedgefield on Friday.
Selection: Shaw’s Cross
2.25 – Bet Goodwin Maiden Hurdle
The Gary Moore-trained Poncho was narrowly touched off on his hurdling debut at Wincanton 11 days ago, finishing second to the smart Celtic Art, and he may have won had it not been for a calamitous mistake at the second last. He will be fancied by many to go one better under Jamie Moore in the Steven Packham colours, but eight-year-old Astromachia brings a similar level of form to the table having finished runner-up in his last two starts. The first of which was a narrow loss to Missed Tee, who won on Monday at Hereford to frank the form, and most recently he finished a length and a quarter behind Don Hollow at Catterick. Invictus De Brion beat Alien Storm (now rated 123) in a bumper here in September but is yet to fire over hurdles, finishing sixth and ninth so far. Tenfold – who raced very freely when finishing a 10-length fourth behind the smart Hansard here on January 2 at odds of 80/1 – has Rob Hargreaves again taking 10lb off his back and may improve if he can learn to settle.
3.00 – Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Veterans’ Handicap Chase
This looks a cracking renewal of the feature Veterans’ Handicap Chase, in which £23,000 of prize-money is up for grabs. Last year’s winner Innisfree Lad will bid to retain his crown off the same mark as last year (127) and has the added bonus of 5lb claimer Toby Wynne aboard, who will be riding for the first time at Plumpton. He finished a solid seventh in the Lincolnshire on Boxing Day and looks to be primed for this. Six-time Plumpton winner I See You Well ran well to finish fourth in the Sussex National last-time-out and has been dropped 1lb for that, which should put him right in the mix on his first start in veterans’ company. Potters Legend, who has earned £183k in prize-money during his career, is still going strong at the age of 13 and has had a nice break since finishing a length second to younger opposition at Catterick on November 18. Admiral Barratry won off a mark of 125 last season and finished second at Plumpton off 127, so his current rating of 122 is tempting, however he has to bounce back from being pulled up in the Southern National at Fontwell in November. Course and distance winner Special Acceptance returns from a 667-day absence and is back to his last winning mark of 114. Although the layoff is a concern, he finished second in the 2021 Sussex National on soft ground and conditions should suit. Fellow C&D scorer Putdecashonthedash won her 12 months ago but needs to bounce back from a fall at Wincanton on Boxing Day. Trixster has been pretty consistent for Tim Vaughan, finishing in the first three on seven of his previous eight starts, and may be one for the placepot.
Selection: Innisfree Lad
3.35 – Strong Flavours Catering Handicap Hurdle
Midnight Mary ran well on her stable debut for Lucy Wadham when finishing second to Will Victory here on December 20 and the step up in trip should eek out further improvement. The David Pipe-trained Shot Boii bids for his fourth consecutive win and it will be interesting to see if the handicapper has finally caught up with him after raising him 4lbs for a half-length victory at Uttoxeter last-time-out. Gold Clermont – a narrow third to Shot Boii at Lingfield on November 24 – meets him on more favourable terms here and would be preferred at the weights. Spike Jones has only finished out the first three on one of his ten starts and should be right in the mix again for Sam Drinkwater and Danny Burton. El Hageb Rose caused an almighty upset when winning here at 100/1 on November 14 but the form of that race hasn’t worked out particularly well and he was well beaten at Fontwell last-time-out, so would need to take a big step up to land this.
Selection: Spike Jones
4.10 – Visit attheraces.com Handicap Hurdle
Tommy Dillion produced a huge effort to win by 21 lengths at Lingfield last-time-out and has duly been raised 12lb in the weights. That will make his task here trickier, but he should appreciate conditions and finished second over course and distance last March. Four-year-old Executive Pool finished third in that race – 2 lengths behind Tommy Dillion – but has only been dropped 1lb and may not be on a winnable mark yet. Stablemate Tara Iti is a C&D winner and will benefit from Rob Hargreaves taking 10lb off his back. He finished sixth of eight here on January 2 but wasn’t beaten far by an impressive winner and should be right in the mix here after a 2lb drop in the weights.
Selection: Tata Iti