Top tipster Andrew Mount begins the week with four bets at Doncaster, Hereford and Wolverhampton
HAWTHORN COTTAGE – 3.10 Doncaster
Amy Murphy has yet to have a winner in first-time blinkers (0-32) but I’m still going to chance a bet on HAWTHORN COTTAGE in this 2m3.5f mares’ handicap hurdle. The eight-year old went into the tracker after her comeback tenth at Lingfield in October where she made the running in the ‘swamp’ on the inside rail, running much better than her finishing position implied. She was again on the slowest part of the track when down the field at Cheltenham next time but showed more at Plumpton on her latest outing, running third after failing to see out the 3m1f trip. She was a comfortable winner of this race 12 months ago, has won in first-time headgear before (cheekpieces) and if we throw out her first two runs of the season her record over 2m-2m5f below Graded level reads 1311 (3-4).
GRIMM STAR – 3.20 Hereford
Dr Richard Newland does well at the first time of asking with horse he takes over from other trainers, especially when running them in handicap hurdles. He’s scored with 21 of the 70 qualifiers (30% strike-rate) for a profit of £22.13 to a £1 level stake at SP. In races confined to conditional jockeys his record is seven from 14 for a profit of £12.88. including form figures of 21111 (4-5) for those who last ran in Ireland. Ex-Irish GRIMM STAR is the latest qualifier.
VIOLA PARK – 4.15 Wolverhampton
Eight of VIOLA PARK’s nine career wins have come over today’s 7f trip and he looks worth chancing after finishing a respectable fifth over 6f here on his return from a four-month last week. He drifted out to 20-1 that day but was far from disgraced behind At Your Service, who followed up at Chelmsford on Saturday. Last year, he ran down the field at Kempton after two months off then scored at Wolverhampton second time out. He has a five from 21 course record when returned to the track within four weeks of his latest start, for a profit of £56.50 to a £1 level stake at SP. He made the frame (second, third or fourth) in nine of the 16 defeats and it’s possible that he’ll be allowed his own way at the head of affairs.
STRAWBS – 5.45 Wolverhampton
STRAWBS ran an incredible race at Chelmsford on her debut, overcoming a very slow start to score at 18-1 down the outside under Hollie Doyle. That was far from the strongest race but the time was more than respectable and the mare is bred to appreciate the switch to Tapeta. Progeny of Garswood have won 11 of their 73 starts on Tapeta (15.1%) for a profit of £63.88 to a £1 level stake at SP. Doyle keeps the ride and she Strawbs looks open to significant improvement.
Today’s Best Bets
Hawthorn Cottage – 1pt each-way – 3.10 Doncaster (15-2 Sky Bet, five places, 7-1 generally)
Grimm Star – 1pt win – 3.20 Hereford (5-1 generally)
Viola Park – 1pt each-way – 4.15 Wolverhampton (25-1 Betfair, Paddy Power)
Strawbs – 2pts win – 5.45 Wolverhampton (7-2 generally)