17th March 2012, 1:00am
Ffos Las Betting: Lamps looks a value bet in Channel 4 opener at Ffos Las
C4 2.25 Ffos Las: Read Nicholls And McCain On Betfair Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) (2m4f)
The Channel 4 cameras are at Ffos Las this Saturday and the first race on the card is a competitive little handicap hurdle with 9 runners going to post. The ground is described as good to soft so no excuses for any of the runners and the favourite is Strongly Suggested trained by Jonjo O'Neill and will be ridden by Gold Cup hero Tony McCoy. He's an 11/4 shot with Stan James and shorter in places and is sure to be popular for the Cheltenham winning combination.
The 5yo has had just four starts over hurdles so far and is yet to get his head in front despite running well in all of his races. He's been given a mark of just 117 which looks fair enough and something to work with for connections.
Top weight is Numide on a rating of 121, he looks about to hit form after some poor efforts but his second at Sandown last time was much more like it and he won last March off a mark 4 lbs higher than today. He's a strong finisher and this long home straight should play into his hands and Leighton Aspell takes the ride who knows him well. Local trainer Rebecca Curtis has Snow Blizzard in the line up, the stable had a winner at Cheltenham and always do well here at Ffos Las. The 5yo has shown all his form on firm ground and has two poor runs to put behind him.
Trainer Sirrel Griffiths doesn’t have many horses these days but his U B Careful has been running well over fences this season being placed several times, he may need to drop a few pounds before he can get his head in front over hurdles. Another Welsh trainer Evan Williams supports the race with Lava Lamp, he's another who has good form on a faster surface and hasn’t ran since October which puts me off a bit and maybe being aimed at a spring campaign.
Lamps is interesting for Michael Blake, he was a decent novice last season and finally won a race at Chepstow in November on soft ground, he ran in a handicap for the first time at the same track last month and was fourth to Dream Esteem, that was a solid run as Charm School was second that day and has gone on to frank the form. He has definite possibilities in a race with plenty of doubts about his rivals. It wouldn’t be the same without a Peter Bowen runner at Ffos Las and he has Lamboro Lad with young Brendan Powell claiming 5lbs, he's been dropping down the handicap recently and if back on song could be a danger to all.
I'm keen on Lamps and Numide here against the field and could get some value with the favourite sure to be popular after their Cheltenham heroics.
1pt Lamps 8/1 Bet365
1pt Numide 9/2 Skybet
Author: Graham Sarson