Rory Delargy has two selections for Friday's racing at Exeter and Warwick while he wants a horse in Kempton's Saturday feature on side now as well.
0.5pts e.w Boyhood in 3.10 Exeter at 25/1 (Betfair, Paddy Power 1/5 1,2,3,4 – minimum 20/1)
1pt e.w Late Shipment in 4.23 Warwick at 20/1 (Bet365 1/4 1,2,3, minimum 14/1)
1pt e.w Fingerontheswitch in 3.35 Kempton (Sat) at 20/1 (Bet365 1/4 1,2,3,4 – 16/1 SkyBet 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)
Boyhood is likely to ensure Ciaran Gethings earns his fee in the Thank You NHS Devon National Handicap Chase, with Tom George’s charge usually off the bridle early in his races, and he tends to do his running when it’s too late, often finding stride when the winner – and often the placed horses – has flown. That rarely makes him a betting proposition, but stepping up to a marathon trip is sure to suit here, and he has dropped to an attractive mark after a few defeats over hurdles this term.
Boyhood has only had a handful of starts over fences, winning on his debut over 3¼m at Newton Abbot in May 2019, but not taking to blinkers when third here in later that year, and kept to hurdles since. He beat a useful sort in Truckers Lodge at Newton Abbot, and that gelding is now rated 153, so it’s disappointing that Boyhood has not also been able to prove himself in stayers’ events as a chaser. He’s clearly not one to trust implicitly, but he has much more talent than his mark suggests, and it’s possible that the return to fences without headgear will see him show what he can do. Even n his more mulish moods, he’s more than capable of running through horses to grab a place, but winning is possible if he can be persuaded to exert himself.
There may be a theme developing here, and the 3¼ miles of the hands-and-heels handicap hurdle means that suspect stayers need not apply, and there aren’t that many in this field guaranteed to stay, which is good news for another dour sort in the shape of Late Shipment.
Eaton Miller skated up over fences at Uttoxeter on Sunday, and he’s on the same mark back over hurdles here which gives him very obvious claims. He didn’t need to improve much to win that contest, however, and not many horses running over staying trips can be turned out quickly, with even easy wins taking time to recover from.
Connie Wilde is bred to stay every yard of this trip, and could easily leave her previous poor form behind, but Late Shipment looks sure to improve on recent form with plenty in his favour.
Late Shipment normally needs a run or two to put him right and he shaped a bit more encouragingly at Bangor over 2m7f last time out, getting a little outpaced before plugging on again in the closing stages. Loch Garman Aris was runner-up at Bangor, but whereas the selection was just getting his second wind, Loch Garman Aris’s stamina strings were beginning to twang, and he was very tired crossing the line. The longer trip should allow Late Shipment to reverse that form, while he’s shown his best form on good to soft or soft ground, rather than in bottomless ground, and conditions will also help him get back to his best.
Late Shipment shows his best form in the spring, has a record at 2m7f or further at this level of 31315, has been placed in a much stronger race over C&D, and he’s now 4lb lower than his most recent win. He’s one of only three in this race to have won at the trip, and it’s easy to see him running through horses into the frame at the very least.
Hello Spring! It may not last, but we appear to be experiencing something akin to spring-like weather, and that means that a jumps meeting taking place on good ground is not just a fantasy. Kempton’s chases on Saturday should take place on a sound surface, and that is great news for Fingerontheswitch, who has not had ideal conditions since finishing an excellent second in the SkyBet Chase at Doncaster over a year ago.
Neil Mulholland’s veteran had previously been given a peach of a ride to score over this C&D under Millie Wonnacott, and he can go close again now that he’s has fallen to the same mark as at Doncaster. A strong traveller who needs to be produced with expert timing, he gets on well with the excellent Wonnacott, and the set-up of a big field handicap at a dead three miles is perfect for him, particularly away from deep ground. He’s overpriced here, and I can’t see the 20/1 about him lasting too long.
Published at 1825 GMT on 25/02/21
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