13:50 Wincanton

The racingtv.com/freemonth Mares' Handicap Hurdle has a really open feel about it to get things started at Wincanton and I have two suggestions who have the capabilities to make an impact in this grade off their current marks. 

The Jonjo O’Neill-trained mare SACRE COEUR (best price 17-2) showed a smart level of form when trained in France, winning four times and, having been highly-tried in her first couple of starts in the UK, she ran a really good race on her first go over the British hurdles in a class-two event at Plumpton to finish a close-up third behind Diego Du Charmil and Sebastopol in the Sussex Champion Hurdle. A return to chasing next time didn’t go according to plan as she fell at Cheltenham but she didn’t disgrace herself on her comeback outing at Ludlow before building on that appearance to push a 120-rated individual close at Bangor on her sole attempt in this grade. She took a heavy fall when last spotted but was still travelling quite strongly but, provided that hadn't dented her confidence with a ten-pound claimer in the saddle, she ought to make her presence felt in the opener. 

The nine-year-old MISTY BLOOM (best price 8-1) might not be the force she once was, but she ended last term in good form, placing in a couple of useful events, including on her final start of the campaign under today’s rider Jack Wildman. She’s only a couple of pounds higher than when beating a 122-rated rival at Ludlow and it was back in 2019 when she thumped a good field over today’s course-and-distance off a three-pound higher mark. Her team continues in a rich vein of form and, with this track always seeing her to good effect, she should go very well here. 

Sacre Coeur - 0.5pts e/w @ 17/2
Misty Bloom - 0.5pts e/w @ 8/1

14:50 Wincanton

LUCKOFTHEDRAW (best price 7-2) is a lot worse off at the weights than when beating Dorking Lad by only half-a-length back in November but the former could not be in better form and gets the vote to confirm his superiority over Gary Moore’s charge. 

The nine-year-old has been in excellent form for his current handler, winning back-to-back events before posting a sequence of runner-up efforts, including when chasing home the useful Farinet at Sandown last-time-out. The third from that event, Goa Lil, has advertised the form by winning next-time-out off a mark of 122 so his current mark of 124 with Jordan Nailor’s three/pound claim taken into account makes him really well-treated so there is no disguising his strong credentials here. 

Luckofthedraw - 1pt @ 7/2

15:50 Wincanton

It looked as though MAGISTRATO (best price 4-1) was going to develop into a possible Triumph Hurdle candidate after an impressive first-time-out performance for Paul Nicholls at Chepstow and, although he’s yet to match the initial promise he displayed in two subsequent starts, he has his sights lowered significantly here and this should offer the opportunity for him to get back on track for the Ditcheat Handler. 

An opening mark of 110 on handicap debut here has undoubtedly underestimated him as he takes an appreciable ease in grade after contesting a pair of Grade Two and Grade One events the last twice. He has bumped into two leading Cheltenham Festival hopefuls in the form of Porticello and Knight Salute and with no opponent of their calibre in today’s calmer waters, Paul Nicholls’ highly-regarded four-year-old, who’s hopefully learned to settle, gets a fair vote to upset the favourite. 

Magistrato - 1pt @ 4/1

19:00 Kempton

This looks competitive but GHAALIYA (best price 7-1) scored over today’s course-and-distance on debut last summer and if the first-time blinkers have a positive effect, she’s a major each-way player in this company under Joey Haynes. 

She hasn’t quite been at her best for current connections but she’s saved her best for this venue and is a strong-traveller, who is well-suited to this course. Interestingly, the assessor hasn’t reduced her mark from last time which leaves the impression that she’s capable of defying it. She went close on her last start over track and trip off top-weight and, with a strong pace likely to be on offer, she is an appealing each-way contender here.

Ghaaliya - 0.5pts e/w @ 7/1