Sunday 19 June 2016

No doubting Damien

I'll keep this brief as the price, as I expected, has long since disappeared.

The 4.30 at Hexham is not as competitive as the size of the field suggests and I found it fairly easy to whittle it down to two, maybe three runners.

The one that stood out a mile was Damiens Dilemma, making his debut in handicaps for Stuart Coltherd having won five times between the flags.

Wins at Friars Haugh, Mosshouses and Hexham's point course show that the eight-year-old is fully effective on stiff tracks, while he seems to act on any going.

All his runs in hunter chases this season have garnered Racing Post ratings in excess of 100, and while it is never easy to translate hunter chase form into handicaps, he was after all second in the 'Heart' at Hexham while his last run was another solid effort behind some decent animals.

He stays very well and with the ground very much on the soft side he looks all set for a huge run. His jumping is a slight cause for concern but he always finds a way of getting round and Hexham doesn't take an awful lot of jumping.

At 6/1 he was a cracking bet as I put him in at 4/1 at best. He is still the bet at that price.

Of the others, only Sharivarry would be considered a danger on recent form, this strong stayer will be much more at home over 3m after finding it all happening too quickly last time. He'll give the selection most to do I'm sure, but whether he's as well handicapped is doubtful.

The only other one of interest is More Madness, who went sharply downhill for Nick Alexander in the last year and is now in the care of Julia Brooke. The switch could revitalise him but he looks slow and moody and while he could be a fly in the ointment he is not a betting proposition.

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