Tip of the Day: Clic and collect
Matt Brocklebank heads to Taunton for today's selection as he looks to back up yesterday's Lingfield winner.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls: Saddles Clic Work in the 2.40
It's bucketing down in Leeds at the time of writing and the feet are wet from paddling through a seemingly undrainable car park, but the going remains good to firm, good in places approximately 250 miles south west in Taunton and that's going to suit a few horses in the fascinating contest at 2.40.
The Dave Criddle Travel & Titan Tours Handicap Hurdle has attracted just eight runners but there is loads going on in the early market and one of the most eyecatching moves is for Newsworthy.
He's been tossed around from trainer to trainer but has hardly fallen from grace having moved from Nicky Henderson's stable to that of Tom Symonds, and now onto Neil Mulholland.
He's a son of Presenting and as such loves the ground riding on top, something he didn't get when pulled-up at Cheltenham last month, which turned out to be his only public outing for Symonds.
He was a big drifter in the betting there on account of the heavy rain (presumably) and was tailing off when Paul Townend decided to call it a day having never looked like featuring in the finish.
But the assessor has dropped him another 3lb to 117 which certainly looks workable if the in-form Mulholland can rekindle the sort of form which saw Newsworthy finish fifth to Yorkhill in a Punchestown bumper and second to Rock On Oscar at Doncaster in February this year. The fitting of a hood, as well as cheekpieces, are certainly intriguing without quite being compelling.
The money has also come for Hint Of Mint, who was behind the reopposing Winning Spark when the pair finished third and second at Wincanton three weeks ago.
He's not been with Harry Fry long (third start today to be precise) and has definitely shown enough to suggest he's becoming very well treated. He's competing off a mark 19lb lower than his career-high 142 and twice raced at Taunton during 2014, winning on both occasions.
Both are interesting and neither would be surprise winners by any means, but all this conjecture and second-guessing has seen the Paul Nicholls-trained CLIC WORK drift out to a gift of a price and it's worth keeping things simple with this improving four-year-old.
The penny clearly dropped for the son of Network when scoring in good style over the extended two miles here a fortnight ago, where he looked like another three furlongs would be right up his street. Perhaps it was the removal of the hood he'd worn at Stratford and Ascot in his first two starts of the season, perhaps it was just a case of being much sharper in terms of fitness. The local stewards looked into the apparent improvement shown but the trainer's representative could offer no explanation.
Either way, good ground obviously suits and there's a serious chance that now's he's found his form Clic Work is going to be able to keep the ball rolling and defy a 7lb higher mark in this slightly better race.
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Posted at 0910 on 08/12/16.