Phyll your boots at Plumpton
Ashley Iveson believes Our Phylli Vera looks attractively treated at Plumpton - he has a selection for every race on Monday.
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PLUMPTON: 2.00 Sergeant Mattie, 2.30 Mia's Vic, 3.00 OUR PHYLLI VERA (NAP), 3.30 Dynamic Idol, 4.00 Brantingham Breeze, 4.30 According To Them, 5.00 Clonusker.
STRATFORD: 2.10 Forced Family Fun, 2.40 Riddleofthesands, 3.10 Lamps, 3.40 Fredo, 4.10 Red Skipper, 4.40 Ballyjames, 5.10 Rock On Rocky.
TAUNTON: 2.20 Comical Red, 2.50 Red Four, 3.20 Taste The Wine, 3.50 Well Refreshed, 4.20 The Happy Warrior, 4.50 Regal Park, 5.20 Mistress Mole.
DOUBLE: Our Phylli Vera and Clonusker.
Monday's fare is very much the calm before the storm on the eve of Cheltenham, but there are still winners to be had as punters look to boost Festival funds.
The best bet at Plumpton is course winner Our Phylli Vera, who holds obvious claims in the Aspen Insurance Mares' Handicap Hurdle.
Alan King's five-year-old suffered such a heavy fall at Southwell in March of last year, her jockey Robert Thornton was left with a broken arm and was forced to sit out the Festival.
Our Phylli Vera appeared to be feeling the effects of that when running well below par on her next appearance at Wetherby, but enjoyed a much-needed confidence boost by striking on the Flat at Chepstow in May.
She made a decent return to the jumping game when third at Plumpton in November and returned to the Sussex track the following month to run out a decisive winner from Clonusker.
The form looks strong with the runner-up winning his next two starts and despite a 13lb rise in the weights, Our Phylli Vera remains a very attractive proposition back against her own sex.
Clonusker is in action later in the afternoon and is fancied to complete the hat-trick in the Aspen Insurance Supports The Handicap Hurdle.
Since his good run behind Our Phylli Vera, Linda Jewell's six-year-old has bolted up over the course and distance and showed good heart to follow up at Fontwell a couple of weeks ago.
The handicapper is bound to catch up with him before too long, but this is hardly a great race and Clonusker might just be capable of coming home in front once more.
Father-son combination Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies will be dreaming of taking Champion Hurdle glory with The New One on Tuesday, but can first find the target with the rather less talented Riddleofthesands at Stratford.
It is safe to say the 10-year-old is not one of the Twiston-Davies team's brightest stars, but he has wins at Chepstow and Ludlow in the mud to his credit this term.
Conditions are likely to be testing again in the Visit At The Races Virgin 354 Novices' Handicap Chase and he appears to hold an outstanding chance.
The Happy Warrior can be relied upon to give punters a good run for their money in the IRL Independent Racecourses Handicap Hurdle at Stratford.
Since failing to get competitive on his seasonal return at Wincanton in October, Bob Buckler's charge has not finished out of the three in five starts, registering a couple of victories along the way.
He let down favourite-backers when third over this course and distance a few weeks ago, but can be forgiven that given he was turning out quickly after a demanding effort in testing conditions at Exeter.
Given time to regroup, he should be hard to beat, with 7lb claimer Gary Derwin keeping a successful partnership intact.