Race of the day 30 January – Tizzard’s 7/1 chance can land Wincanton feature
We take a look at Thursday’s race of the day which comes from Wincanton, and Brian Healy assesses the runners for the feature of the afternoon at the Somerset track.
Five meetings go to post on Thursday and spearheading Wincanton’s seven-race card and getting underway at 2.20pm as the the third race of the day is the feature ‘Unique Financial Planning Handicap Chase (For The Dick Hunt Trophy)’ which takes place over a trip of three miles and furlong.
Twelve runners will go to post for Thursday’s race of the day with each having an eye on a valuable prize. Brian Healy has assessed the field for the day’s feature race and gives his big race tip for Wincanton’s feature.
RACE OF THE DAY RUNNER-BY-RUNNER
WANDRIN STAR (12/1, William Hill)
Made a winning return to action from seven months off the track here in October, beating Beau Du Brizais. However he failed to fire when next seen in the Becher Chase although he completed the course behind Walk In The Mill.
Kim Bailey’s charge can’t be judged too harshly on that effort and he could bounce back returned to more conventional obstacles. H does looks high enough in the weights at present though and has 3lbs more here than his last winning rating.
THE KINGS WRIT (15/2, William Hill)
Has been largely consistent over fences and has posted several creditable efforts including finishing fourth behind Siruh Du Lac in last season’s Brown Advisory Plate at Cheltenham.
A dual-winner over fences in testing ground, he has made the frame on both starts this campaign and no surprise to see him run well although a 5lbs rise in the weights for his latest run leaves him on a career-high mark.
CONINGSBY (16/1, Bet365)
Ended last season on a high note with a win at Exeter, but he got no further than the first obstacle on his reappearance at Ascot in November.
Tom Lacey’s charge showed no ill effects before running well in a voided Sandown race and he remains unexposed over the larger obstacles so could well play a part despite a stiff looking mark.
POP ROCKSTAR (12/1, Coral)
Won at Chepstow last April to round off his campaign and made a winning return to action at Carlisle in August before being highly tried in Graded company at Cheltenham and Chepstow respectively.
He wasn’t disgraced in either start where he went well for a long way in the Welsh Grand National and this is significantly easier. He’s been eased 2lbs and drops back in trip for this latest outing and no surprise to see a big run.
REIKERS ISLAND (10/1, Bet365)
Has just one chase win to his name from seven outings, scoring over course and distance back in December 2018 on significantly faster ground than he’ll encounter here.
He has gone off the boil somewhat since in his subsequent outings and he was beaten the thick end of thirty lengths when last seen in November behind Militarian. His mark has since slid again but he remains a risky proposition at present for all he’d have a definite say if back to his best.
COMMODORE (16/1, Paddy Power)
Ended last season on a high with successive chase wins at Warwick and Sandown, but he’s since returned from a break in poor form and he’s yet to get competitive in a trio of starts this campaign.
Venetia Williams’ charge was last seen pulling up at Chepstow on New Years’ Day behind Doing Fine and the Fragrant Mix gelding will need to bounce back although the handicapper likely still has him in his grasp. This is easier however than his recent outings but recent efforts are off-putting and he has a bit to prove at present.
DARLAC (7/1, William Hill)
Has made the frame in all three completed starts to date, but he can often be let down by his jumping and he has hit the deck twice including when last seen in the Classic Chase.
He was in the process of running a decent race though when coming to grief, and this represents a drop in class while the handicapper has eased him a further 2lbs. Soft ground is no issue and the Lucarno gelding could be a big player if keeping the errors down.
WORTHY FARM (9/2, Bet365)
Point-winner who struck twice over hurdles last term and has already shaped well over fences in three start this term, latterly opening his account at this venue latest when beating Broadclyst by a neck.
He wore blinkers for the first time that day which seemed to deliver a jolt of improvement although the form has been dented a few times since. Nevertheless, there could more improvement to come and still unexposed as a chaser he could go close.
ELAN DE BALME (10/1, Ladbrokes)
Largely consistent in France, winning at Craon when trained by Francois Nicolle and making his debut for David Pipe now.
The Cachet Noir gelding fell on his final outing in France at Auteuil and he tries this trip for the first time so not guaranteed to stay; while his winning form in France came on better ground than this. Nevertheless, he has to be respected starting out for his new yard and he’s worth a second look if the market speaks in his favour.
ONE OF US (8/1, Paddy Power)
Largely consistent over fences since being faced with marathon tasks, rounding off a solid campaign last term with a win at Exeter in the Devon Stayers Chase.
Subsequently better for his reappearance behind Wandrin Star here in October, he ground out a defeat of Captain Cattistock to win the Southern National and a 4lbs rise looks tolerable however he may find this trip on the sharp side.
MOVING IN STYLE (4/1, Coral)
Won twice over fences for Neil Mullholland and has returned in good heart following a break for current handler Robert Walford, finishing runner-up in recent starts at Haydock and Newbury latterly.
The Mountain High gelding can compete here from the same mark as when denied behind Copperhead on his last outing which makes him a player in this contest if he can maintain his current spell of good form.
CYCLOP (16/1, Paddy Power)
Hasn’t won for more than two years since taking the 2017 Lincolnshire National at Market Rasen, but he has shown signs in recent outings that his turn might not be too far away.
Third over hurdles at Huntingdon he returned to chasing latest to finish runner-up in the latest renewal of the Lincolnshire National on Boxing Day. He’s not guaranteed to replicate that however despite his recent better efforts and he runs here from out of the weights although has the services of Jack Tudor for this assignment.
A wide-open contest and if his jumping holds up then it might be worth chancing DARLAC (7/1, William Hill) to get off the mark over fences.
Colin Tizzard’s charge has made the frame in his three completed chase starts, although he’s also fallen twice over the larger obstacles.
However, he was in the process of turning in a decent effort in the recent Classic Chase at Warwick until falling four out and he faces an easier assignment this time where the handicapper has eased him 2lbs.
He could appreciate coming back in trip, while softer ground is no concern and if he can keep the mistakes down then he looks to be on a winnable mark in this grade and every chance he can go close with a clear round.