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Five horses to follow this afternoon at Plumpton and Wolves!

Sky Sports Racing’s Elliot David gives us his five runners worth considering on this afternoon’s Monday double-header at Wolves and Plumpton.

The Cathal Don

2.00 Plumpton – Elementally Human High Stakes Handicap Chase

In Shaw’s Cross and Doyannie, we have two in-form runners renewing their recent course and distance rivalry, which saw the former come out cosily on top last month. Though the ground will be slightly quicker at the Sussex venue on Monday, that form seems likely to be upheld, with a 2lb swing in the weights unlikely to stop Paul Henderson’s 11-year-old.

My interest though lies with seven-year-old The Cathal Don, who makes his debut for Richard Bandey. Although this is one you might have to squint a little to see the case for, given British form of 36PP4P, positive market signs would be noteworthy on stable debut.

Having joined former trainer Seamus Mullins from Henry de Bromhead’s yard, he was allotted a mark of 137, which even on Irish form looked harsh. It wasn’t a surprise to see him finding Class 2 and 3 company a step too far in his first three British starts, and longer trips tried back in March and April looked to stretch him.

Since sending out a first runner in 2013, Bandey has notably excelled with chasers, operating at 21 per cent over fences compared to a lesser 11 per cent over hurdles, with a characteristic being the bold and accurate jumping of his chase, something The Cathal Don was struggling with when last seen in April.

This horse starts life with Bandey on a rating of 105, now 32lb below his opening British mark. Monday’s conditions look suitable, with one of his two career wins coming on good ground, and the tongue tie worn for both victories is retained. If the stable switch works, he can surely find this a winnable race, given he remains lightly raced and with scope for improvement as a half-brother to useful performer The Mighty Don.


2.30 Plumpton – Coral Racing Club Handicap Hurdle

This 13-runner handicap hurdle looks a typically open race for the grade, but having seemingly appreciated the switch to good ground at Fontwell earlier this month Gary Moore’s Abingworth can get off the mark on his second handicap start.

Ridden by conditional jockey Rob Hargreaves, the five-year-old sat midfield in a muddling race last time out, well restrained away from an early battle for prominence.

Heading out onto their final circuit, Hargreaves had allowed his mount to move forward into a prominent position, widest on the track and travelling smoothly, but having nearly followed Joe Tizzard’s West Orchard in running out two from home, he looked to hang left up the straight and just lost out in a bunched finish, perhaps lacking for that bit of experience in a battle.

Despite being unable to quite get the job done, it was a notable improvement upped to 2m5½f and switched to quicker ground.

He steps up further in trip to 3m1f here, under similar conditions, and looks to have a little more scope for improvement than most of his rivals. The excellent Jamie Moore takes over in the saddle and everything looks set for another big run.

Fortuna Ligna

3.35 Plumpton – Tim Vaughan Racing Supporting Jamie’s Farm Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

Just three winners for the stable in December and January would tell you Anthony Honeyball’s string went through a lean patch, but they’ve been in excellent form since the beginning of February, operating at 28 per cent (9-32) this month and enjoying a clear turn in fortunes.

Though she remains a maiden from five career starts, his six-year-old mare boasts some good form in both bumpers and novice hurdles, and certainly enough to make her worthy of strong consideration from an opening mark of 103. After a promising hurdle debut in the height of that aforementioned quiet spell, her Wincanton run earlier this month showed promise in a race that didn’t look run to suit, as the 1-2 remained prominent throughout and those in behind struggled to truly get involved.

She may therefore be better judged on her course-and-distance hurdle debut, in a race that appears to be working out well. The front quartet pulled clear that day, with Nick Gifford’s winner Churchills Boy following up at Fontwell to obtain a rating of 119, while Paul Henderson’s Our Champ could do even more for the form in the maiden hurdle (1.30) earlier on the card.

She’ll encounter considerably quicker conditions here, with good ground forecast, but with Listed bumper form on good going behind smart mares in Queens Gamble and Bonttay, she appears to handle it just fine.


6.30 Wolverhampton – Scu Selects Expert Tips By BetUK Novice Stakes

A quiet Monday evening card at Dunstall Park could be lit up by this race for the third successive season, with previous winners including Group 1 performer Dragon Symbol and Richard Hannon’s 102-rated Witch Hunter.

Six runners go to post led by Charles Hills’ Dubawi colt Rabaah, who created an excellent impression when returning from a 223-day injury lay-off to land a Lingfield novice contest last month.

Hills unleashes exciting Rabaah at Wolves

Despite showing evident greenness, he came clear inside the final furlong in the style of an above-average performer, and Hills couldn’t hide his admiration for the colt, saying: “I’ve always liked him”.

That performance built on his hugely promising Leicester debut run from May, when catching the eye behind subsequent Group 2 July Stakes runner-up Show Respect. Subsequent form (see table below) from that race has seen the eight runners record eight wins from 32 starts between them, the sure sign of an above-average contest, and I fancy Rabaah can develop into a high-class sprint handicapper on the turf.

The Thames Boatman

7.00 Wolverhampton – talkSPORT Powered By Fans Handicap

Richard Hughes broke a frustrating run of places when Kimngrace flew home to land the Listed Hever Sprint at Lingfield on Saturday. I’m hoping that turn in fortunes carries over to Monday evening, where The Thames Boatman makes good appeal in this handicap over the minimum trip.

Outside his runs in novice contests, he’s been pitched in at the deep end in the valuable Tattersalls Auction race at Newmarket and a tough race against his elders at Nottingham. Having found the soft ground against him in the latter, the son of Havana Grey returns from a gelding operation and is back at the scene of his best run to date.

That run saw him make all from a wide draw in stall 8 to comfortably see off the challenge of Kevin Philippart de Foy’s Clipsham La Habana, who has won two of his three starts since to obtain a rating of 82. Though that run came over 6f, the early speed shown there would suggest no concerns over the drop back to 5f from a mark of 76.

His trainer boasts a terrific record at Wolverhampton during the winter all-weather season. In the last five years between September and March, Hughes strikes at 27% here, but if ignoring his runners at the basement Class 6 level that improves to 33 per cent (20 from 61 runners), with a healthy level-stakes profit of £35.33 to a £1 stake.


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