Winter Raceday - Plumpton Preview

1.30 – Buy The Plumpton History Book Now Maiden Hurdle
A competitive six-race card kicks off with this 2m4½f maiden hurdle and Hermino AA looks the pick on form. He finished third on his hurdles debut in a competitive contest at Doncaster last month and he holds an entry for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, which suggests Gary Moore thinks a lot of him. Goodwin Racing makes 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, and could prove the biggest challenger if he takes to this new discipline.

Selection: Hermino AA

2.05 – IEP Financial Novices’ Handicap Chase
11-year-old Shaw’s Cross has finished second on four of his seven chase starts and is probably the most solid option in this wide-open contest. He runs off a 2lb lower mark than when he finished second here last month. Hector Jaguen makes his first start over fences for Gary Moore and may be open to improvement if he takes to chasing, while topweight Sherborne has some solid novice hurdle form but his jumping has let him down on his two starts over fences so far. If he can sharpen that up, he may well prove too good for these.

Selection: Sherborne

2.40 – IEP Financial Novices’ Hurdle
The Gary Moore-trained Poncho was narrowly touched off on his hurdling debut at Wincanton earlier this month, 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 for owner Steven Packham. Trevor’s Lad made a promising debut when finishing third at Fontwell in November for Toby Lawes and should be right in the mix if he can build on that effort. There will be plenty among the crowd cheering for Tapley – who is owned by The Plumpton Party – and he’s not without a chance of hitting the frame if replicating the form that saw him land a Fontwell bumper in October.

Selection: Poncho

3.15 – Tysers Handicap Hurdle
Kansas City Chief is still going strong as a 14-year-old and has some useful Plumpton form having won over course and distance in March last year. He has since moved from Neil Mulholland to Oliver Sherwood and ran with plenty of zest when finishing a narrow third at Doncaster last month, so has obvious claims in this despite his ages. Sidi Ismael was mounting an eyecatching challenge in the Sussex National earlier this month before  he fizzled out in the final furlong to finish fifth. He’s back over hurdles here, off a 5lb lower mark, and looks to have a good chance for David Pipe. Six-year-old Jerrash won twice over hurdles last season, defeating some very nice horses in the process including Complete Unknown and Galia Des Liteaux, and he could be well treated on his seasonal reappearance off a mark of 127. Burrows Park  bids to follow up on a comfortable win at Exeter last time out, for which he has been raised 6lbs. However he has the benefit of promising 7lb claimer Ned Fox on his back, who has a 16% strike-rate this season, which makes his task easier.

Selection: Burrows Park

3.50 – Tysers Handicap Chase
Course and distance winner Special Acceptance returns from a 679-day absence and is back to his last winning mark of 114. Although the layoff is a concern, he will be in with a shout if he returns to a similar level that saw him finish a narrow second in the 2021 Sussex National. Uallrightharry is a much more recent C&D winner, having scored with ease on December 20, and is fancied to run well again under Marc Goldstein. Topweight Sizing Cusimano is tempting off a mark of 115, which is 7lb lower than his last winning mark in May 2022, however he has been on a downward spiral of late – failing to place in each of his last seven starts – and is hard to back with much confidence. High Up In The Air has won here three times but has struggled this season and will need to show much improved form to feature, although he has the benefit of 3lb claimer Niall Houlihan on his back, who will be full of confidence after landing the first Grade 1 of his career aboard Editeur Du Gite at Cheltenham on Saturday. Art Of Illusion, another of three C&D winners in this race, returned to winning ways at Ffos Las last time out and is another with a solid chance in a race where cases can be made for plenty of runners.

Selection: Special Acceptance

4.24 – Strong Flavours Catering Handicap Hurdle
Course and distance winner Tara Iti finished sixth of eight here on January 2 but wasn’t beaten far by an impressive winner and should be right in the mix after a 2lb drop in the weights. Tommy Dillion produced a mammoth effort to win by 21 lengths at Lingfield last-time-out (in which Tara Iti finished fourth) and he has duly been raised 12lb in the weights, which will make his task of notching consecutive wins tricky. In a race containing plenty of reopposing horses, four-year-old Executive Pool was sent off favourite in that Lingfield contest won by Tommy Dillion but was well beaten and only dropped 1lb, but he receives a weight-for-age allowance of 13lbs which will help his cause.

Selection: Tara Iti