Nap of the Day: Nigel’s winning plan?

 | March 18 | 

3 mins read

Owen McMahon's NAP of the Day

Tuesday's Nap of the Day comes from Wetherby - a dual-purpose track now staging both jumps and flat racing, but for decades a top northern circuit for National Hunt stars. The peerless Michael Dickinson rode and then trained many a winner at Wetherby, the proverbial A1 course given it's proximity to that major highway, clearly visible from the stands.

In other news it's the Lincoln Handicap on Saturday, and not many weeks to the Aintree Grand National. It's all go then on the racing front - soon be time for the Guineas, Chester, the Dante; a thrilling time in racing's year. Right - here's our Nap of the Day, Tuesday. Promising young staying 'chasers take centre stage. Owen's off this week after a thrilling Cheltenham plotting the fortunes of his extensive Festival ante-post portfolio, so it's my pleasure to stand in for a few days. 

Nap of the Day Tuesday

  • 15:45 Wetherby - Top Of The Bill @ 4/1

15:45 Wetherby - Top Of The Bill @ 4/1

This eight-year-old Fame And Glory gelding is trained at Naunton by Nigel Twiston-Davies, and will be ridden by regular pilot Jordan Nailor. He has to shoulder topweight of 11st 10lb, but I'm extremely hopeful he'll make a good fist of it.

He was a 123-rated hurdler, and has comfortably outstripped that over fences. He goes perfectly well in soft ground (the anticipated going as I write), and last time 25 days ago at Exeter he seemed to get well and truly stuck in heavy, off a career-high mark of 135.

He jumped out to his left on occasion too, and at right-hand Exeter that's not going to help the cause. Back on a left-hand track here, it will be of far less significance if he does so again. The handicapper has reacted to that tailed-off run by dropping him to 133; still 6lb higher than his last winning mark. He's got a bit on, then.

Nigel's a master with staying horses, usually very comfortable with cut in the ground, and we know Top Of The Bill gets this 3m trip perfectly well. Two runs ago, again at Exeter, he made all and won eased-down in this Class 3 grade for a slightly better prize (nearly £10k). The second that day, a decent Evan Williams yardstick, also bombed in the deep ground when subsequently looking to turn around the form next time so it must have been very attritional.

Nigel didn't have a winner at the Festival but his Cuthbert Dibble and Gowel Road ran very well in a couple of the handicap hurdles - and he scored at Uttoxeter at weekend courtesy of Beauport, also ridden by Nailor.

Opposing the selection are five lesser-rated but of course better-weighted horses, the most dangerous of which could well be Donny Boy. Drying ground would perhaps help this one, but it would benefit most of the field I suspect. Certainly didn't perhaps run quite so well in this grade as he had in a Class 4 the previous day, and he's yet to outstrip his hurdle rating of 125.

Always a folly to ignore a Sue Smith stayer, and she fields Cerendipity, a seven-year-old gelding who has at least won over these fences. The O'Neills have Collectors Item, while championship-chasing Sean Bowen is aboard Lord Of Kerak for Olly Murphy.

Cracking little heat then; and I'm hopeful that Top Of The Bill, on slightly better ground than when becalmed last time, can perhaps get into a rhythm here and return to the dominant form he'd shown on his previous appearance. Very decent price, too.

Top of the Bill 15.45 Wetherby

If you're playing, the very best of luck.

Nap of the day from Betfred Insights.


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