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Tuesday 24 February 2015

Wednesday Preview – Bet The Farm!

It seems I wasn’t alone in fancying Wilcos Mo Chara last week. Donald McCain’s charge was sent off 7/2 second favourite, but barely went a yard and was struggling before halfway. Jockey Jason Maguire reported that the gelding was never travelling, but in the absence of any further explanation for the poor performance, Wilcos Mo Chara looks best left alone for the time being.

So, it’s a question of ‘pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again’ this week, but Singlefarmpayment has made steady progress this season and should (at the very least) run his race in the Wrexham Lager Handicap Hurdle (4.25) at Bangor-on-Dee. The Milan gelding was far from disgraced when fourth of eight, beaten 8¾ lengths, behind Polamco in a Class 2 affair at Newbury over Christmas and, back in Class 4 company, must have every chance off the same handicap mark.

Tom Lacey’s 5-year-old has yet to encounter properly soft ground, but his pedigree suggests that he may even improve a little under more testing conditions and, if so, the 5/1 currently available in the early price lists would start to look very generous indeed. Indeed, Singlefarmpayment is entitled to be open to significant improvement in any case, after just four completed starts over hurdles and will almost certainly prove better than his current handicap mark of 115 in due course.

Selection: Bangor-on-Dee 4.25 Singlefarmpayment to win

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Thursday Preview – Wilcos Mo Chara Can Prove Punter’s Pal

In the Forth One Boogie In The Morning Handicap Hurdle (3.30) at Musselburgh on Thursday, Wilcos Mo Chara should appreciate returning to a sharp track and can make a winning handicap debut. Donald McCain’s 7-year-old could only finish fourth of ten, beaten 25 lengths, behind Smooth Stepper at Sedgefield on Boxing Day, but with the winner going in again on his handicap debut, in this grade, at Wetherby a week later, the form looks better than it did at the time.

Indeed, Smooth Stepper won quite convincingly off an opening handicap mark of 120, so it appears that Wilcos Mo Chara, who was conceding 12lb at Sedgefield, is reasonably treated off a handicap mark of 113. The Oscar gelding won a ‘bumper’ over course and distance, on the prevailing good going, at the start of last season and is reunited with Jason Maguire, who’s ridden him to both victories under rules, so makes plenty of appeal at 9/2 with Sky Bet in the early price lists.

Obvious dangers appear few and far between. Claude Carter is still 6lb higher than when winning in 0-105 company over course and distance in January and was subsequently beaten 20 lengths over 2 miles 4 furlongs here and it’s difficult to make a convincing case for any of the others.

Selection: Musselburgh 3.30 Wilcos Mo Chara to win (9/2 with Sky Bet)