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Hunter Chase 5.00 Ffos Las

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With Leicester off we are down to just the Welsh Foxhunter at Ffos Las and it carries decent enough prize money for the grade. It is a bit of odd race as well as none of them have completed in a hunter chase or point to point this season as those who have run in one have pulled up.

More Buck's has been put in as favourite and he won the Summer Plate at Market Rasen in 2018 strangely enough beating one of today's rivals Too Many Diamonds in the process. His last win came 14 months ago at Ludlow off 133 and he's basically struggled in 10 runs since. So we don't know what sort of form he is in and after that win his jockey James Bowen got off and said he really needs that type of good ground. My guess is they want to try and qualify him for Aintree so a run in the first 3 here would rack up one of the runs needed and I just wonder if he might be ridden with that in mind, especially on this testing ground.

Tinker Hill Tommy has got some very good hunter chase and pointing form to his name and I think a mark of 112 under estimates him. The last time we saw him was when he walked away with the Dunraven Bowl in 2018. That was a superb performance and it is also worth considering he has finished a close 2nd in a John Corbet as well. Three things concern me here. First of all the ground has to be a worry as he got very tired on heavy ground at Exeter when 3rd to Salubrious. I felt at the time though he paid for trying to live with the classy winner though which didn't help. The Chepstow win was on soft and it was soft on his seasonal return that season when a close 2nd to Battle Dust which was a good effort. You have to worry about Ffos Las heavy though especially with nearly two years off, which is my second worry. He has run well fresh, but the combination of a long lay off on bad ground could be tough for him. The 3rd worry is the jockey. Anna has never ridden under rules before and she has only had just over 30 rides in points for 3 wins. All that combined is enough to put me off backing him although I do like the horse and it wouldn't surprise me if he did end up being good enough.

Aqua Dude has clearly had his issues over the years but he has proven to be a decent horse. Prior to his point run here in December his last run was when pulling up in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham in 2017. He pulled up here as well, but there was enough in it for me to think he has a chance here. It was testing ground and he tried to go with Wishing And Hoping until his stamina ran out. He might also have had a little issue as well given he has been off since. This looks more his trip and he should strip fitter here so he looks a big player to me.

I'm not sure if Alan and Lawney Hill have ever had a runner against each other before but they do here as Alan has Sir Mangan and Lawney has Clondaw Westie. Sir Mangan had some decent form for Dan Skelton, but he looked to be losing his form when last seen a year ago and he doesn't look like he wants testing ground either. Clondaw Westie makes more appeal. He was beaten a long way in 2nd at Leicester last time, but he was well in front of the 3rd and the winner looked well handicapped. It is interesting they are running him in a hunter chase given he now can't run in a handicap until June. The ground won't be an issue and the trip will be fine. Others have had higher rating than him in this race, but he could take advantage of the questions marks over some of the other fancied horses.

Bob Ford is the only other one in with a chance according to the betting, but his form has all been over further. Granted the ground won't be an issue, but he surely needs a longer trip. Also he doesn't seem to have been in quite the same form he showed when winning at Uttoxeter on his seasonal debut in November of late.

I am happy to take two against the field here in Aqua Dude and Clondaw Westie. In my view they are the two who will be suited by the nature of this race the most. Aqua Dude has the better back class and there was enough in his return run for me to think he still has a fair bit of ability, whilst Clondaw Westie does well in heavy ground and ran well enough last time. More Bucks doesn't seem to want this ground and as much as I like Tinkers Hill Tommy there are too many question marks over him to want to back him for this although I do think he has the ability to win.

Aqua Dude 1pt @ 4/1 with William Hill, Betfair and Paddy Power

Clondaw Westie 1pt @ 5/1 with Betfair, BetVictor and Paddy Power

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Great to get back to back winners Clondaw Westie running out a nice winner under a good front ride from James King. As I mentioned in the preview he looked to have his ideal conditions and we knew he was match fit and those two things combined have won the day for me. He did jump to his right at times and it got worse late on, but it didn't make a difference. I'd be wary of him following up as I suspect the form isn't going to be the strongest, but if he gets his conditions again and finds a suitable race he could add to this. Even so he has won just over £4k and it would have been hard to see him winning a handicap worth that sort of money or more so it was a good piece of placing from his trainer. It was a 1-2 for the Hills with Sir Mangan finishing 2nd. He ran well given he had been off for a while and you would hope he can build on that. 

More Buck's looked the winner for me turning for home as he travelled into the race very strongly, but he couldn't pick up in the ground and if Aintree is the plan then he wasn't knocked about once he couldn't win. The trainer won the Aintree Foxhunters with Dineur and he finished 2nd in this in one of his qualifying runs before his first run in the race when he was 2nd to On The Fringe. It wouldn't surprise me if he appeared in the entries for Fakenham on Friday tomorrow.

Aqua Dude ran well enough, but got tired late on. Given it was nearly 3 months from his previous run there is every chance he needed this and I wouldn't be giving up on him just yet. All of them shortened up at some stage, but Bob Ford was the strangest move for me and he didn't jump great. He clearly needs further as well. Tinkers Hill Tommy unseated at the 10th and unless it was factored into the price I think I would find it hard to back him if Anna rides him again based on what I saw today.

If Stratford goes ahead the next race is there on Monday. Tomorrow the 6 day decs come out for Cheltenham.

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9 hours ago, MCLARKE said:

Good pick Darran. I can't bring myself to back more than 1 horse in a race, I ended up on the wrong one but these things even out over time.

It’s all about making a profit. There is nothing wrong with backing 2, 3 or sometimes 4 in a race if the prices allow. I was reasonably confident one of them would win but didn’t favour one over the other which is why I had the same amount on both. Obviously completely up to the individual on what they do but I certainly wouldn’t be afraid of backing more than one in a race.

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10 hours ago, Darran said:

It’s all about making a profit. There is nothing wrong with backing 2, 3 or sometimes 4 in a race if the prices allow. I was reasonably confident one of them would win but didn’t favour one over the other which is why I had the same amount on both. Obviously completely up to the individual on what they do but I certainly wouldn’t be afraid of backing more than one in a race.

Couldn't agree more. As long as it pays then it's a good way of hedging your bets especially when there are pace /draw uncertainties. I also find its good in large field jumps races because if one falls or blunders, the other horse is still live. Unless of course one brings the other down which has happened a few times!

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