13:35 Wetherby

Fransham my NAP at 10-3

FRANSHAM (NAP) (best price 10-3) has an impeccable record at today’s C&D, as figures of 211 testify, and following a recent run after a break which should have blown away the cobwebs, Pam Sly’s inmate is strongly fancied to keep those impressive stats intact.

Runner-up in a competitive handicap on his first visit to the Yorkshire venue, the son of Sulamani didn’t have to wait too long to reap the benefits of that effort as a couple of weeks late he went one place better on his return trip up north. Successful again on his first outing after a 104-day break here in this race last season, it looks fairly obvious that connections have targeted this contest again given his performance over a trip that just stretched his stamina at Market Rasen 13 days ago, so despite there being one or two potential lurkers in the field, he still gains the vote.

Fransham - 2pts @ 10/3

13:50 Down Royal

Back Jason The Militant with and without the fav at 5-1 and 13-8

For purposes of this column, it will be great to see Abacadabras put his Champion Hurdle credentials firmly in the shop window, but for the benefit of today’s race, offering up JASON THE MILITANT (best price 13-8) as the safer option in the ‘without the favourite’ market seems the more sensible approach. 

Not quite in the top bracket just yet, Henry De Bromhead’s gelding certainly looks the type that could make a breakthrough based on his overall profile over jumps and his recent form on the Flat. Apart from one inexplicably bad run in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown, the son of Sans Frontieres was a steady improver throughout the campaign and he rounded off his season in the best possible fashion by getting the better of a useful field at Navan, that included the likes of Beacon Edge, Andy Dufresne, Pakens Rock and Mt Leinster – all winners so far this term. Using a run on the Flat at Fairyhouse for his comeback spin, the six-year-old couldn’t have been any more impressive, quickening right away from a useful field in the manner of a top-class prospect. Despite stable pilot Rachael Blackmore choosing stable mate Aspire Tower, Jason The Militant still gets the confident vote to put his qualities and fitness edge to good use and if he was good enough to pull off a mini shock and go and win, odds of 100-1 for the Champion Hurdle wouldn’t appear that far-fetched. 

Jason The Militant w/o fav - 2pts @ 13/8
Jason The Militant - 1pt @ 5/1

15:20 Wetherby

Back Some Reign at 5-1

SOME REIGN (best price 5-1) has refused to race twice in the past, so he’s clearly not one for maximum stakes, but he does seem in a happy enough place at the moment to warrant some sort of interest in race very much within his range given his current wellbeing. 

Lightly-raced in recent times, Rose Dobbin’s gelding has performed to a pretty high level when he has made it to the track and his latest victory at Hexham on his first outing for 216 days highlighted just how good he can be when on-song. Always travelling in a lower gear than his rivals at the Durham venue, he cruised to the front approaching the last and then with a spring-heeled leap, he was away on gone on the run-in to go on and record an easy four-length success. On the evidence of the time figure he posted and all his previous form, a well-run two miles seems to suit him best, so with the strong possibility of today’s contest being run at a sound gallop, the son of Kayf Tara should be in his element and he looks destined to play a huge role in the finish providing he consents to play ball at the start.

Some Reign - 1pt @ 5/1

20:00 Dundalk

Back Pure Nature at 16-1

There’s not a lot to separate many of the runners in this competitive finale, so it makes little sense to see PURE NATURE (best price 16-1) chalked up as one of the outsiders considering her suitability to this surface. 

Having her first outing at the Co Lough venue a month ago following two promising runs on turf (firstly behind Paso Doble) Ado McGuinness’ filly was well-backed to make a deserved breakthrough and having travelled like the most likely winner throughout, she got the job done in ready fashion. Clocking one of the fastest time figures on the eight-race card, the daughter of Dansili made a mockery of her rating at the time (64) and it was no surprise to see her try and capitalise on her seemingly generous mark at Fairyhouse a week later. Unfortunately for her and her supporters, heavy rain meant she failed in her bid to repeat the dose but that should count against her chances here tonight now returning to her favoured C&D. Nicely draw and likely to be suited by a better all-round pace in this classier heat, the three-year-old has the scope to put up a bold show despite the layers suggesting otherwise. 

Pure Nature - 0.5pts e/w @ 16/1