Wincanton Tips: Balko can get back on track on Thursday

 | November 22 | 

3 mins read

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There are three National Hunt meetings scheduled on Thursday and there is a competitive seven-race card at Wincanton, where Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson and the red-hot Venetia Williams are all represented.

The action gets under way at 12:20 and the highlight on the card comes at 12:55, with the Alan King-trained Tritonic heading the weights in the four-runner Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

Wincanton Tips

  • 12:55 - Beau Balko @ 5/2
  • 15:15 - Balko Saint @ 13/2
  • 15:50 - Jack Sprat @ 11/4

12:55 - Beau Balko @ 5/2

The Flat-bred Tritonic makes his chase debut and the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle winner could have a class edge on his rivals.

However, King campaigned his six-year-old on the Flat this autumn, so while fitness won’t be an issue having run only 42 days ago, chasing is not the obvious stepping stone.

The soft conditions are a concern for fellow chase debutant Soul Icon, which means the two with experience over larger obstacles, Beau Balko and Scarface, are the pair to focus on.

This 2m trip may be on the sharp side for Scarface, so Nicholls' charge Beau Balko gets the nod as he will love the rain-softened conditions.

The five-year-old didn’t offer much on his chasing debut at Ffos Las when fifth of six, beaten 24 lengths by Matata. However, a few of his stablemates have been coming on for a spin and he’s seriously well handicapped judging on his hurdles form.

Last season Beau Balko was beaten only a head over this trip on heavy ground at Stratford by Sunday’s Greatwood Hurdle hero Iberico Lord. That day he was giving Henderson’s charge, who won last week’s Cheltenham contest with plenty to spare off a mark of 126, 2Ib so there is certainly room for him to manoeuvre off a rating of 124.

15:15 - Balko Saint @ 13/2

There are a few runners who like to race prominently in the 2m4f Handicap Chase (15:15) and the forecast strong pace could play to the strengths of Balko Saint, who was beaten a neck by Flic Ou Voyou over this course and distance off 3Ib higher in February.

With Peter Summers taking off 7Ib, the Jane Williams-trained six-year-old is becoming seriously well handicapped off a mark off 112 and there should be no excuses as he comes here race-fit.

Balko Saint offered little encouragement over hurdles at this track 25 days ago but he rarely does on his first outing of the season and that was evidently a pipe-opener for this.

Tamaris could still be well ahead of his mark but he’d have a bit to prove if the ground comes up soft.

15:50 - Jack Sprat @ 11/4

The Jamie Snowden team are in excellent form and he and stable jockey Gavin Sheehan could close the card with another winner in Jack Sprat.

The five-year-old won off a mark of 95 over this trip at Huntingdon 18 days ago and that form has already taken a boost with the runner-up, Star Legend, subsequently winning a maiden hurdle at Fakenham.

As a result of that convincing three-length success, where he hit the line hard suggesting there was more to come, Jack Sprat is due to go up another 3Ib, so is in effect well in for this closing contest.

There are plenty of unexposed types hailing from powerful stables who could leave their form well behind but Jack Sprat has less to prove than most and he was a runner-up in a maiden hurdle at this track in April.

Find more Horse Racing Tips here at Betfred Insights

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