Plumpton horse racing tips 20 January – Picks through the card for Monday’s feature meeting

Brian Healy gives race-by-race selections for every race on the cat at Plumpton.

Featuring amongst Monday’s quartet of UK horse racing meetings is Plumpton’s jumps racing meeting which goes to post from 1.40pm with six races in all going to post at the Sussex venue.

The main event of the day is the Streat Conditional Jockeys’ Veterans’ Handicap Chase which sees some well-known names line up for the feature where seven runners will face the starter; while the four-runner Westmeston Chase offers solid handicap support.

1:40 – Strong Flavours Catering Maiden Hurdle Cl4 (4yo+) 2m
2:10 – South Chailey Handicap Hurdle Cl4 (5yo+ 0-120) 3m1f
2:40 – Westmeston Chase (A Novices’ Limited Handicap) Cl3 (5yo+ 0-135) 3m1½f
3:10 – Ditchling Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Cl4 (4yo+) 2m
3:40 – Streat Conditional Jockeys’ Veterans’ Handicap Chase (Conditionals’ Vets’ Chase Series Qual’) Cl3 (10yo+ 0-125) 3m1½f
4:10 – Cooksbridge Handicap Hurdle Cl5 (4yo+ 0-100) 2m4½f

Brian Healy takes a race-by-race look at Monday’s main meeting where he has selections in every race going to post throughout the afternoon.

1:40 – Strong Flavours Catering Maiden Hurdle Cl4 (4yo+) 2m

JACK VALENTINE (10/3, Paddy Power) has shown up well on both his hurdles starts to date since joining Venetia Williams, and the Scorpion gelding made a winning start for this yard in a Uttoxeter bumper prior to twice finishing third over timber at Ffos Las and Chepstow latterely.

Placed in a point-to-point prior to joining this yard, his latest outing saw him beaten around 13 lengths behind Beaufort West where he perhaps set too hard a gallop. Despite that defeat he could have more to offer over hurdles and he can find further improvement to open his account over timber.

The form of his bumper win is fairly useful, and while he hasn’t matched that level of form thus far this looks a decent opportunity for him and he ought to go close.

Trainer Venetia Williams

Trainer Venetia Williams can saddle a Plumpton winner on Monday.

2:10 – South Chailey Handicap Hurdle Cl4 (5yo+ 0-120) 3m1f

Point-to-point winner MISTER MURCHAN (5/1, William Hill) has been slowly progressive since switching to hurdling for current yard Richard Rowe, running his best race to date over timber when finding only one too good at Ascot back in December.

The Westerner gelding finished four lengths’ runner-up behind Flowing Cadenza on that occasion, and although no match for the winner he had pulled nine lengths’ clear of the third. He wasn’t done any favours on that occasion however by being hampered on the home bend, but he kept on well for the silver medal and he could step up on that run to go one place better here.

Eased 1lb in the ratings for this latest outing, a reproduction of that effort might be good enough here and he can get off the mark.

2:40 – Westmeston Chase (A Novices’ Limited Handicap) Cl3 (5yo+ 0-135) 3m1½f

CHRISTMAS IN APRIL (5/4, Ladbrokes) has stepped up on some fairly useful hurdles form to prove himself a much better chaser, and Colin Tizzard’s charge can land a hat-trick of wins over the larger obstacles here.

The Crillon gelding has improved with every start over fences, getting off the mark when equipped with cheekpieces at Fontwell in December with a defeat of Gleno before winning a shade cosily over this course in the recent Sussex National where he rain out a two lengths’ winner over Uallrightharry.

He’s been raised 6lbs for that win, but he likely has further improvement still to come and the return to this trip will present no issue; while the form of his earlier Fontwell win has been franked and he can continue to progress.

His three rivals all come here bidding to bounce back from poor efforts last time out, and he could prove a tough nut to crack here if the headgear continues to have a positive effect so it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him collect his three-timer.

3:10 – Ditchling Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Cl4 (4yo+) 2m

WHITE CHOCOLATE (11/4, William Hill) was a winner on the level for David Simcock, reaching a mark of 90 at his peak in that sphere, and the Mastercraftsman mare wasn’t disgraced switching to hurdles for new handler Seamus Mullins when finishing third over this course and distance behind Highway One O Two earlier in the month.

That was her first run in some five months and she might just have needed the outing where she crossed the line around 14 lengths adrift, running on again having looked outpaced mid-race. However, now she has that run under her belt she is entitled to do better now and she’ll strip fitter for that return to action.

On the form of that introduction she does need to find a shade more, but she can make her presence felt here and no surprise if she’s involved at the finish.

White Chocolate can get off the mark over hurdles at Plumpton on Monday.

3:40 – Streat Conditional Jockeys’ Veterans’ Handicap Chase (Conditionals’ Vets’ Chase Series Qual’) Cl3 (10yo+ 0-125) 3m1½f

Some well-recognised names line up for this veterans’ chase, and ANTONY (8/1, Ladbrokes) is taken to get back on the scoresheet for the first time since scoring at Fontwell back in April 2018.

Gary Moore’s charge has run just four times since, but the ten-year old looks thrown in on these terms if he can recapture the sort of form which saw him win the Grade Three Sodexo Gold Cup earlier in his career, and he was entitled to have needed his return to action at Sandown back in December.

That reapperance though came over a trip much shorter than ideal, and he showed the benefit of the outing to finish fourth behind Copperhead at Newbury next time when faced with a step up in trip to a more suitable yardage.

He might still have just needed that run which was only his second following some 14 months off the track, and he could progress with that run under his belt. He did show a tendency to jump left however, which is a slight concern, but he has excellent claims on his old form and he has the services of a very good conditional rider who can take 8lbs off his back in this contest.

Although he’s not the force of old, he could nevertheless take a hand in the finish if recapturing some of his old sparkle, and cheekpieces are redeployed in hope of igniting a spark. If he can find some improvement from his latest start then he could go close off this lower mark.

Antony can get back on the winning trail at Plumpton on Monday.

4:10 – Cooksbridge Handicap Hurdle Cl5 (4yo+ 0-100) 2m4½f

EDE’IFFS ELTON (3/1, Bet365) shaped with some promise in a trio of novice starts over timber, but the Geordieland gelding found some improvement faced with handicapping at this venue latest where he found only High Up In The Air too strong by nine lengths.

He ran on well from the back without providing much of a challenge to the winner, shaping as if he’d better over further than today’s trip. However, this could well turn into a slog, and there is a suspicion his last-time conqueror is a useful sort given he was well-supported in the market.

Robert Walford’s charge has shown enough to think he can pick up a race, and running off the same mark here as last time out then he can make his presence felt once more in a relatively modest finale to the card where quite a few of these rivals arrive out of form.