Thursday 8th February

1.45pm Huntingdon – Midnight Target 3pts Win (13/8)

Plain and simple, this horse looks like a massive blot in the handicap. Her rating of 109 can’t really be argued with over hurdles, but since the switch to the larger obstacles, she has looked a completely different proposition. She immediately went into my tracker following her second to Modus on her chasing debut, where I was taken with how well she jumped. She then went on to fall at the second last behind Rocklander when booked for the runner up spot once again. But she put that fall well and truly behind her when finishing second at Ludlow twice subsequently. In each of her 4 chase starts to date, she has run very, very well against superior rivals rated far higher than herself. Quite frankly, she looks absolutely chucked in on her handicap debut over fences.

2.55pm Towcester – Red Indian 3pts Win (5/4)

If this isn’t an ideal opportunity for Red Indian to notch up his first win of the season then I’m not sure what is. Third in the Lanzarote Hurdle when last seen, that form has already been franked with the fourth Topofthegame winning a Grade 3 at Sandown off 3lb higher. Red Indian was third in an ultra competitive race at Cheltenham back in November and the form of his second at Warwick back in May has worked out very well as the winner is now rated 25lbs higher and the horse that was 10 lengths back in second is now 10lbs higher. On top of all this, Ben Pauling’s last 4 runners have won and the more than capable Alex Ferguson takes 7lbs off his mounts back, meaning that effectively Red Indian is running off 130, his lowest handicap mark to date.

3.30pm Doncaster – Gunfleet 2pts Win (5/2)

Emma Lavelle’s record at Doncaster speaks for itself, operating at a 30% strike here over the past five seasons is really impressive. She saddles Gunfleet in this contest who makes his handicap debut off a mark of 130, which looks lenient. He beat Solomon Grey on bumper debut, who looks a decent sort in himself (now rated 130) before going over obstacles. A fifth at Uttoxeter (Clondaw Native was third) was encouraging, but just didn’t look far enough for Gunfleet and so next time out over half a furlong further on soft ground, he looked like a thorougher stayer. Outpaced on the turn he looked beaten, but his stamina kicked in as he picked up Shannon Bridge late in the day who has subsequently gone on to be narrowly denied just a short head in a Grade 2. This further step up in trip should definitely suit Gunfleet and he can show he’s better than a 130 rated horse.

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