Find out what one of the UK's top pro-punters is backing or laying today.
MOUNTAIN 1:00 Sandown Lay at 2.0 or less
No matter how good a horse was on the flat, hurdling is such a totally different experience that anything making its debut at odds-on against reasonable opposition has to be opposed. Mountain was undeniably top class with Aiden O’Brien, but his hurdle debut has been put off enough times to suggest to me that he hasn’t been easy to handle in his new quarters and if he was taken out last week at Cheltenham because of the ground, then he won’t find today’s conditions much better. His sire Montjeu has produced plenty of good horses, but they are often a bit quirky and very few have done anything over hurdles – his best hurdler to date is Pace Shot! With Pommerol and Ned Ludd bringing experience and fair form to the race and Sir Rique another interesting newcomer, I’m a layer at less than evens. The Hobbs stable (Sir Rique) won this last year with Detroit City, but even he was beaten on his debut.
GOOD SPIRIT 2:35 Stratford Back at 1.7 or more
Good Spirit was disappointing on his UK debut at Warwick, making a couple of mistakes and seeming to find that sharp 2M a bit quick for him. This looks a much weaker contest, the slightly longer trip should help, he’s the subject of good home reports from the trainer and even a reproduction of the Warwick form should be good enough. The lack of quality in the opposition is highlighted by the fact the second favourite is a 10-y-old who has failed to complete the course in two tries over fences, both at Plumpton. Last time, Alph was challenging another Nicholls hotpot when he fell at the last, but even if he’d completed, that form doesn’t look as good as the Warwick run of the favourite and at his age, the better ground here is likely to find out any basic lack of speed.
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