During the last jumps season you may remember that I was instilling the virtues of a Worcester bumper that worked out remarkably well, the one in which subsequent Aintree Listed winner Dame Rose (tipped in this column at 25-1) was fifth. The runner-up, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth (40-1) won soon after that 19 October contest. The winner, MONTY’S AWARD, only had the one subsequent outing – when a 23-length fourth at Doncaster in February – but the runner up that day, Claimantakinforgan, did best of the British runner in the Champion bumper at Cheltenham and it was probably no disgrace.
He returns to Worcester for the 2m 7bets4free.com EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle today (3.55) and looks worth a bet at around the 5-1 mark.
Charlie Appleby has a poor record when bringing back a horse from a layoff and Boynton, the even-money favourite, could prove vulnerable in the 1m2f Bet totexacta At Betfred.com Conditions Stakes at Chelmsford tonight (7.15). He won at Goodwood and Newmarket on his first two starts in 2016 but hasn’t been seen since running third in Group 2 company in July of last year. His trainer is just 5-66 with runners returning from a break of 300+ days (7.6% strike-rate, -£293.00 to a £10 level stake at SP). He did have a Royal Ascot winner under these conditions earlier this year but is just 2-29 (6.9%, -£228.00 to a tenner) in races worth less than £12,500 to the winner (tonight’s contest is worth less than £10,000).
ICKYMASHO could be the value alternative. The Johnny Portman-trained mare would be getting plenty of weight from some of her rivals were this a handicap but course form could prove more important and her record here reads: 2112125 (3-7), with the latest defeat excusable as she was drawn wide and taken on for the lead. Hopefully, she will be in receipt of an easy lead tonight.
Monty’s Award – Worcester 3.55 (2pts win, 5-1 Hills, 4-1 generally)
Ickymasho – Chelmsford 7.15 (1pt each-way, 16-1 Hills, Skybet)
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