Simon Holt: Drumming up support
Simon Holt previews Saturday's action at Sandown and Musselburgh, with Drumcliff a strong fancy at the latter track.
Drumcliff is strongly fancied to make the long trip north worthwhile
BEG TO DIFFER, an easy winner over three miles at Sandown last season, looks to be running into form and can follow up in the Betfred Masters Handicap Chase on Saturday.
Jonjo O'Neill's charge was slow to get going this term but shaped much better, fitted with cheekpieces (reapplied here) for the first time, when fourth in the Welsh National at the end of December.
If he can build on that and rediscover the exuberance of his four-and-a-half length defeat of course specialist Loose Chips (now 1lb worse off) here last February, then he must have a solid chance and, at the age of seven, should be open to further improvement.
Beg To Differ is set to receive 12lb from the top weight Otago Trail who finished very tired when second behind Bristol De Mai at Haydock just a fortnight ago while both Rock The Kasbah and Irish Saint will have their stamina tested over three miles in likely arduous conditions.
Earlier, I will take a chance on FOUNTAINS WINDFALL making amends for a slightly underwhelming reappearance, when carrying the burden of this column's support, in the Betfred Mobile Heroes Handicap Hurdle.
Anthony Honeyball's promising gelding was just too keen and fresh in the Lanzarote at Kempton last month and, not surprisingly, could only stay on at the one pace up the straight finishing seventh behind Modus and about five lengths off the reopposing third Lord Of The Island (same terms).
Hopefully with the freshness out of him this time, Fountains Windfall can confirm the promise of his novice efforts last season which suggest he may be well handicapped and, out of a mare who stayed three miles, there is every chance of him being suited by this step up in distance – providing he switches off in the early stages.
At Musselburgh, DRUMCLIFF will be strongly fancied for the bet365 Scottish County Hurdle after a luckless defeat at Kempton over Christmas when he was badly hampered at the second last before rallying in fine style.
Harry Fry's long-distance traveller could be a big improver and may have London Prize, a short-head second to the progressive Bandsman at Market Rasen last time, to beat.
Posted at 1105 GMT on 03/02/17.