Matt Brocklebank looks at some of Wednesday's key events as the in-form Venetia Williams sends out three runners - all in the same race.
1. Following Venetia’s blind...
It has been a sparkling few days for Venetia Williams, whose horses have clearly found their form, and if you’re wondering where her best chances of a winner are on Wednesday then you don’t have to look very far.
Williams had a winner at Chepstow last Thursday, a Haydock double on Saturday, an across the card double on Sunday, plus a Cheltenham winner on Tuesday before another at Exeter.
All three of the yard’s representatives this afternoon pitch up in the same race – namely the opening MansionBet Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at Hereford.
Jurys Out is living up to his name thus far and has been dropped 5lb for a pretty hopeless handicap debut effort over this course and distance, Don Herbager is down 4lb for his nondescript performance in the very same race, while Arqalina – the mount of Charlie Hammond – has been granted a basement mark of 79 after tailing off in a novices’ hurdle at Exeter.
The trainer has pulled a number of rabbits from her furry hat down the years and, in her current form, it’s not easy to rule out something similar in this low-grade affair.
2. Worth watching, in all probability
Probability went into a few notebooks when hampered and left with next to no chance of winning on her racecourse debut at Chelmsford back in May and she’s worth flagging up ahead of her second start in the Betway Novice Stakes at Wolverhampton (1.10).
It is presumed she suffered some sort of setback that day as the subsequent 216-day absence is hardly what you’d describe as ideal but the betting could shed a little light on what’s to be expected.
One major positive is that her trainer Archie Watson continues to impress with the fine work he’s doing with his youngsters and he’ll obviously be looking to pick up where he left off in 2018. This daughter of Moohaajim – who was sent off 3/1 on debut – is an in intriguing runner.
3. Laying down the Law?
The late betting moves left the impression Military Law was in need of his comeback at Lingfield last month and, while a length second to the horse who usurped him as favourite just before the off was a perfectly respectable effort, it’s safe to expect a bit of improvement.
John Gosden’s horse has been given a mark of 87 for the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap on his first go in such a race and, based on his Newbury win in October 2017 when Blue Mist (now rated 97) and Proschema (105) were the horses to follow him home, he appears to have a little room to progress past that kind of rating.
4. Richards enjoying glittering season
Nicky Richards has always done well with his runners north of the border and a 20% strike rate (113-555) represents an exceptionally strong return at Ayr.
He looks set to add to those gains with five strong contenders and the one who looks to have really started out at the right end of the handicap is multiple point-to-point winner Glittering Love.
The hurdles seemed to be just getting in his way when only fourth at Sedgefield in April but the switch to fences proved much more to his liking when winning a novices’ handicap at Hexham last month.
The two and a half miles appeared to be a bare minimum for him there but he eventually got rolling and was well on top at the line, suggesting he’s well up to defying an 8lb rise now faced with three miles for the first time under Rules.
Bad ground will also clearly play to his strengths and Brian Hughes, who was riding him for the first time at Hexham, now knows what he’s dealing with.