Dan Looks Just Dapper

In the Kirkley Hall Ltd Zoological Gardens Handicap Hurdle (3.10) at Hexham on Monday, Michael Scudamore sends Dan Emmett on the 566-mile round trip to Northumberland from his Bromsash yard as his sole representative of the afternoon and the hint looks worth taking. The Flower Alley gelding has run creditably in defeat on all three starts over hurdles and looks reasonably treated, off a mark of 120, for his handicap debut.

His best form, so far, has come on good to soft and soft going but, while underfoot conditions are possibly faster than ideal, a few light showers are expected in North East England on Sunday and connections will, presumably, withdraw him if the going becomes too fast. So far, he’s been tried at 2 miles, 2½ miles and 3 miles over hurdles without success but, as a winner over 2 miles on the Flat, 2 miles 4½ furlongs should be ideal for him, especially with the steep climb from the end of the back straight at Hexham likely to play to his strengths.

Jockey Tom Scudamore presumably had the choice of riding for David Pipe at Newton Abbott or Kempton, so his decision to head north is also highly encouraging as far as Dan Emmett is concerned.

Selection: Hexham 3.10 Dan Emmett to win

Coup De Grace Can Deliver

In the Heart FM Handicap (5.10) at Lingfield on Tuesday, Coup De Grace won over course and distance in February and, having run respectably in defeat on both starts over hurdles since, can follow up off a 4lb higher mark. Pat Phelan’s 6-year-old has recorded all three career wins at, or around, 2 miles on synthetic surfaces, but has officially improved 14lb over hurdles since November, so may be capable of translating that improvement back to the Flat.

The Elusive City gelding has yet to record back-to-back victories under either code, but remains relatively lightly raced on the Flat and may be open to a little improvement on that score, too. He’s 7lb worse off for the 5 lengths he beat Invertissement on his last visit here, but he’s arguably more progressive than Paddy Butler’s 9-year-old, who’s also yet to win beyond 1 mile 6 furlongs.

The presence of Angus Glens, Opera Buff and Markhami should ensure that there’s competition for the lead and the faster the pace the better as far as Coup De Grace is concerned. The standout 9/2 with Betfair Sportsbook seems particularly good value.

Selection: Lingfield 5.10 Coup De Grace to win