The Ogle Gogle Man was a non runner yesterday and Turtle Cask was disappointing at Catterick. Of our remaining three selections, two received less than inspiring rides. Dutch Uncle was third at Lingfield and Shyron second at Kempton, the latter returning place money, but both gave the impression they may have won with more assistance from the saddle. Ironically the RP analysis regarding Dutch Uncle states that the horse received plenty of help from his jockey; we will agree to disagree. The day ended in profit when Wally’s Wisdom prevailed at Kempton.
2.10 – Wincanton – Upham Running. 1.5 pt e/w. Available at 9/1.
Dropping in both trip and class, Johns Luck is respected under a decent seven pound claimer. Having won over a furlong shorter here last time out Breaking Ground looks capable of defying a seven pound higher mark but at a bigger price it may be worth chancing that Upham Running can make the frame at least. He’s into veteran status now at ten years old but he hasn’t stood much racing with just eighteen career starts behind him. It was back in December 2014 when he recorded his sole victory to date and he hadn’t produced anything of note since until recently. A wind operation at the beginning of January has seen him produce two much better performances at Plumpton. He was beaten just over two lengths into second place under today’s five pound claimer in the first of them and the form of that race has worked out very well. Last time out he was fourth of eight runners but he was only beaten a length and a half and the form of that race has subsequently already shown some substance. Both efforts came in testing ground over two miles but today’s longer trip should be more suitable. He has crept up three pounds since his operation but that still leaves him ten pounds below the mark of his win and he may still retain enough ability to take advantage.
3.10 – Wincanton – Vieux Lille. 2 pts win. Available at 9/2.
The majority of the nine runners come into this race on the back of decent efforts and there are a few who are probably open to improvement. Although he is yet to win in seven starts over fences, Vieux Lille has some eye-catching form in the context of this race. He was just over ten lengths behind American as a Novice back in November 2016 and was an eight length second to Yala Enkie from a mark of 133 on his handicap debut in the Tommy Whittle at Haydock the following month. He hasn’t gone on from there but, as a result, he is now seven pounds lower in the weights which is eleven pounds below his hurdling mark. He went well for a long way at Newbury last time out and a fall of five pounds and a drop in class could see him get competitive again. He has run well in all four previous starts under today’s jockey and he has no problem with testing ground. He has untapped potential as a staying Chaser.