Small fields on the whole at Wetherby, including for the novices’ handicap chase (16:00), though there are some useful types among the six declared for this three-mile contest.
This looks a good opportunity for Nicky Richards’ Famous Bridge (Timeform weight-adjusted rating: 144p) to register a second win this month at Wetherby. A half-brother to Cheltenham Festival winner Telmesomethinggirl, he looked a chasing type right from his bumper debut in Ireland and was then successful over hurdles last term at Ayr and Kelso, showing fairly useful form. He was let down by his jumping on his second start over fences this season but was much better in a handicap at this track last time, barring a mistake at the last, when rallying to beat Enzo d’Airy by three lengths. Open to further improvement, Famous Bridge outstayed the runner-up over a shorter trip here last time so can prove himself effective over three miles for the first time here.
Bottom weight Twoshotsoftequila (146) looks the main danger for Rebecca Menzies. Having looked unlucky at Sedgefield the time before, he too comes into this on the back of a win last time out. Stepped up to three miles for the first time in a novices’ handicap at Doncaster, Twoshotsoftequila impressed with the way he went through the race before quickening clear on the run-in to beat Famous Bridge’s stablemate Everyday Champagne by five lengths and should go well again.
First Lord de Cuet (143) was a useful hurdler for David Pipe and has shown a similar level of ability over fences, having finished runner-up in his first five starts over the larger obstacles. He has run into some smart performers though, with Complete Unknown an impressive winner at Kempton on Saturday and Monbeg Genius finishing third in the Ultima at Cheltenham last week. First Lord de Cuet is back in calmer waters himself having finished a respectable fourth behind Quick Wave in the Grand National Trial at Haydock last time when shaping as though the marathon trip stretched his stamina.
Lord of Kerak (124p) had fairly useful form over hurdles for Olly Murphy and is handicapped accordingly but needs to step up on a rather lacklustre display on his chasing debut after ten months. That came at Chepstow in January when taking a remote third behind Monbeg Genius and First Lord de Cuet but he may be capable of better.
J. P. McManus has switched top weight Alfa Mix (139+) from Gavin Cromwell to Ben Haslam to see if a change of scenery can help end a long losing run. He was placed three times over fences in Ireland last summer but ran poorly when last seen in December and runs here without the headgear which he’s worn lately for his previous yard.
Inishbiggle improved in leaps and bounds over hurdles on joining Gary Hanmer last term and was successful for a third time when winning a handicap at Catterick last February by 25 lengths but has been absent since and makes his chasing debut here.
Timeform analyst’s verdict
Course winner Famous Bridge should have more to offer in this sphere and can follow up. Twoshotsoftequila may give him most to think about.
Timeform weight-adjusted ratings
144p Famous Bridge
143 First Lord de Cuet
139+ Alfa Mix
124p Lord of Kerak
(no rating – chasing debut) Inishbiggle
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