15:15 Wetherby

Hunny Moon sets a reasonable standard in this mares’ only hurdle, but at the same time, she’s becoming a little expensive to follow, so she’s passed over in favour of CAILIN DEARG (best price 4-1) who arrives here courtesy of a gutsy success in a bumper for old connections at Wexford.

The daughter of Getaway didn’t show too much on her debut at Listowel but that initial experience improved both her mental and physical state tenfold as a month later she looked a totally different horse. Taking more interest from the start at the Newtown Road venue, the six-year-old picked up the running with over a half a mile to run and keeping on strongly, she fended off a series of persistent challengers to score in game fashion. Form-wise, the race 134 days ago has worked out pretty well and with likelihood of even more to come now in the care of a yard doing really good things this season, she should be capable of a bold show despite the layoff. 

Cailin Dearg - 1pt e/w @ 4/1

16:20 Wetherby

PAY THE PIPER (NAP) (best price 5-2) is easily the most progressive horse in today’s field and off an opening handicap which doesn’t appear to be too severe, Ann Hamilton’s gelding is strongly fancied to complete his hat trick.

A former Irish point winner, the son of Court Cave made his rules debut in a decent novice event at Sedgefield back in December and despite being up against 2-7 favourite Camprond and the well-regarded Word Has It, he proved far too good for his two main markets rivals. Really appreciating the strong gallop set at the Durham track, he stayed on extremely powerfully in the closing stages and with the runner-up going on to boost the form at Carlisle next time, it’s fair to suggest he’s one of the best novices seen out in the North so far this season. Indeed, his claim to that fame was endorsed even further when he took the scalp of the very useful Castle Rushden at Carlisle on his return to action last month and although the figures weren’t quite so hot as they were the time before, the performance itself couldn’t be faulted. Despite making a mistake at the last one down the back, the six-year-old not only made up the ground lost, but he managed to out-battle his better-fancied rival on the run-in and with the pair well clear of the rest, the form looks very strong. Additionally, the runner-up has gone on to finish a creditable third against some smart opposition in a Grade 2 at Kelso over the weekend and with today’s race likely to be run at a sound gallop courtesy of Shantou Express and Chti Balko being in the line-up, this improving and likeable novice should get things panning out to his liking. 

Pay The Piper - 2pts @ 5/2