Gary Nutting is hoping a previously high-class hurdler can get back to winning ways on Tuesday at Lingfield, live on Sky Sports Racing.
Lingfield Park, the only UK track to host three different disciplines of racing (all-weather, turf Flat and jumps), provides the best race on Tuesday, the Sharon Knapp Memorial Cup Handicap Hurdle (3.30).
The two-mile-and-seven-furlong contest initially attracted 15 declared runners on ground officially described as heavy, soft in places, with further showers forecast.
Early betting on the 0-135 Class 3 event had it down as 9/2 the field, promising some lively exchanges in the market.
Left-handed, undulating and on the sharp side, Lingfield can still provide a good test of stamina when the ground is soft or heavy. As Mick Fitzgerald points out in his course guide, conditions can get particularly testing down the far side – “really deep and boggy” – making it very different to ride compared to the home straight.
Of the trainers represented in this race Dan Skelton and Gary Moore have the best course hurdle strike-rates in the last three years according to our stats. By the same criteria, Gavin Sheehan is the main jockey to note.
Lightly-raced dual novice hurdle winner who is 2lb lower than when second on last season’s reappearance in better-grade Haydock handicap. Didn’t kick on from that but retains scope for improvement and record fresh is encouraging.
Series of placed efforts in this grade/off this sort of mark since winning two novice hurdles in autumn of last year. Back in this sphere after unseating at the first over fences last month (looked hesitant) and best efforts have come on less testing ground.
Top Ville Ben
Classy veteran hurdler/chaser who made all in small-field course-and-distance conditions event in heavy ground in January. Well enough treated on his best form if raring to go on this first start since pulled up in the Grand National.
Course winner who is weighted to avenge last season’s defeat here by Top Ville Ben and this bigger field may well play more to his strengths. Pulled up in both subsequent outings but starts new campaign 27lb below the mark awarded after his fourth in the 2020 Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Stablemate of top-weight Top Ville Ben and has good record fresh, including when landing Kelso handicap chase off 4lb lower mark 11 months ago, having ended previous season with emphatic Class Two Haydock soft-ground success over hurdles.
In the search for each-way value, ex-Grade One performer EMITOM is given the nod on the basis of his sliding handicap mark and good course form (win and a second from two visits).