Racing tip of the day

  • Last Updated: February 18 2014, 15:31 GMT

Jack Keene expects Virak to maintain Paul Nicholls' fine recent record at one of his local tracks with a win this afternoon.

Paul Nicholls: Trainer of Virak
Paul Nicholls: Trainer of Virak

Virak - 3.45 Taunton

Virak can provide Paul Nicholls with his sixth winner from just 13 runners at Taunton this season when he lines up in the Bathwick Tyres Handicap Hurdle.

The five-year-old laughed at his rivals at this track last time out, scooting clear in heavy ground to win by 42 lengths in what was only his fourth start for Nicholls.

The son of Bernebeau evidently relishes testing ground and is still unexposed, and though he has been raised 10lb for that stroll to victory, useful conditional Jack Sherwood retains the ride and his 7lb allowance negates the majority of Virak's hike up the weights.

He is dropping back two furlongs in trip from two miles three furlongs, but he didn't look short of pace that day as he began to draw well clear from the second-last hurdle and he has already won over this trip in France.

The small field and lack of any other natural frontrunner means similar tactics can be employed and he should get an unhurried time of things out in front. Should the race unfold as predicted there's nothing to stop Virak from running away with another Taunton prize and helping Paul Nicholls edge a little further away from Nicky Henderson in the trainers' title race.