Racing tip of the day
Ben Coley is willing to take a chance on Zafranagar in the bet365.com Handicap Hurdle at Wetherby.
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Friday's card at Wetherby is a lovely curtain-raiser for the weekend ahead. But while it'll be fascinating to see how Oscar Rock goes in the opener and whether David Pipe has another French import of quality in the Listed juvenile hurdle, the most interesting race from a betting perspective is the bet365.com Handicap Hurdle.
I say this because top-weight Tidal Way looks to have been harshly punished for winning a modest Bangor handicap on his return, and fourth that day Pippa Greene has been expensive to follow and will need to improve, as she might, for Barry Geraghty's hands.
Travis County is a frustrating sort with just a six-furlong Flat win to his name and is among a clutch of horses who need to put a poor run behind them, while the form of Glencree's Kelso win has already taken a knock of two and he's also opposable.
Quite simply there are doubts enough to look beyond the obvious and ZAFRANAGAR looks particularly interesting.
The eight-year-old was running poorly when last seen in the spring, but that perhaps explains why he's now in the care of Ian Williams who remains perfectly capable of getting horses at this level to return to something like their best.
If he can do that with Zafranagar, we've a well-treated horse whose sole run at Wetherby ended in a five-length victory off just a couple of pounds lower.
We only have to go back to last year for runs which show he can win off 107 - he was placed in better races off marks close to a stone higher - and since then Zafranagar has seldom been tried in a race he can realistically win over hurdles.
He can definitely win this one if near his best, with conditions to suit, and Williams operates at 33 per cent in hurdles races at Wetherby over the last five years to offer further encouragement.
Robert McGrath's 5lb claim is a valuable extra and on a tricky card Zafranagar merits a small interest.