The Sunflower Day Nursery Handicap Chase (6.30) at Newton Abbot on Wednesday is a competitive little heat, despite just six runners, but Bang On Time has won three of his last four starts, including over course and distance eight days ago and must have every chance under a 7lb penalty. The Chevalier gelding seems a different horse from the one that was pulled up three times in four starts earlier in the year and he beat a reliable yardstick, Sergeant Dick, in good style over course and distance last time.
In fact, Richard Woollacott has once again secured the services of conditional jockey Paul John, whose 7lb claim effectively offsets the 7lb penalty, so it’s hard to argue that Bang On Time isn’t at least reasonably handicapped. He appears to act on any going, except perhaps very firm, so he has plenty in his favour, despite the ‘steadier’ of 12st 5lb. I’m afraid I’m missing something here, but he looks extraordinary value for money at 7/2 with Sky Bet and Coral in the very early price lists.
Selection: Newton Abbot 4.30 Bang On Time to win
The Betfair Huxley Stakes (2.40) at Chester on Thursday is a fascinating contest, in which it’s possible to make a plausible case for each of the seven runners. However, Fattsota is fully effective on a sharp track, having won over 1 mile 4 furlongs at Ripon twelve days ago and over 1 miles 2 furlongs at Epsom two summers ago, and may be capable of recording his first success at this level.
Certainly, David O’Meara’s seven-year-old looked better than ever when making all to win a Class 2 handicap at Ripon by 8 lengths last time and, having record four of his six career wins with ‘soft’ in the going description, could lead this field a merry dance. He may face competition for the lead from Maverick Wave but, although John Gosden’s four-year-old won his maiden at Leicester on good to firm, the pick of his turf form has come on soft and heavy going, so he may find underfoot conditions on the fast side.
Fattsota is officially the highest rated horse in the race, albeit by just 1lb, and with no qualms about the course, distance or going, he looks outstanding value at around 11/1 in the very early price lists. He’s more exposed than most, but that also means he has fewer questions to answer and he fully deserves some ‘black type’.
Selection: Chester 2.40 Fattsota to win