THIS is one of the more low-key weekends of the Flat racing calendar and for that reason I’m also going to take a look at tomorrow’s decent National Hunt card at Market Rasen.
John Ferguson only started training jumpers four years ago, but he’s still managed to win the last two editions of the Summer Hurdle (2.55pm).
The declarations aren’t out until later this morning, so I can’t be certain who he is going to run of his five entries. However, if BUCKWHEAT takes his chance he will be a strong fancy to give the yard a hat-trick in the race.
This son of Manduro was formerly trained by Andre Fabre before moving to Charlie Appleby. Under their handling he ran in some very good races on the Flat, winning at Listed level, and is two from three over hurdles, including a very impressive win at Aintree last month.
He won doing handstands that day and the performance screamed ‘Summer Hurdle’. The good ground was exactly what he wanted and a mark of 143 shouldn’t prove insurmountable considering his pedigree.
Ferguson may be tempted to also run top weight Commissioned. If he takes part, my selection will carry 11st3lb which is a nice racing weight for a race like this. The 11/2 generally available is a fair price.
The Newmarket handler doesn’t have an entry in the Summer Plate (3.30pm) and neither does Peter Bowen who won this for three straight years between 2006 and 2008.
Dan Skelton has been on fire this summer – the young trainer has an astonishing strike-rate of 43% in chases and 32% in hurdles.
He has two possible contenders for the Plate and I marginally favour PUMPED UP KICKS over stablemate Ulis De Vassy.
Not many trainers can improve horses from Gordon Elliott’s yard, but that is exactly what Skelton has done. The eight-year-old mare bolted up at Cheltenham’s April meeting and then followed up at Worcester a week later.
She’s been given a nice break since then and, as long as she gets the green light to run, she looks a solid each-way bet at 8/1 with Betway.
BUCKWHEAT 2.55pm Market Rasen (tomorrow)
PUMPED UP KICKS e/w 3.30pm Market Rasen (tomorrow)