Carlisle Preview: Double chance for McCoy and O’Neill
Trainer Jonjo O’Neill and jockey AP McCoy look to hold major claims of bagging two handicap hurdle contests on today’s card at Carlisle courtesy of Upswing and Beg To Differ as they step up the pace ahead of Cheltenham.
Upswing is unbeaten in two runs at the track and can take advantage of an ease in class to land the 2m 3f event (4.00).
The gelding had a progressive profile last season, winning two handicaps at this venue in the mud over before going on to land a competitive class 2 contest at Newbury off a mark of 128.
Upswing looked sure to win more races judged on the latter but has failed to cut any ice in three runs this season.
However, the O’Neill stable has now emerged from under a cloud and is beginning to hit form with a vengeance and Upswing drops into class 3 company from what looks a workable mark.
The seven-year-old is just 3lb higher than when winning at Newbury, and that gives the son of Beneficial every chance from a handicapping perspective at a track which clearly suits and ground which will hold no fears.
Beg To Differ makes his handicap debut in the 2m 1f contest (5.00) and could well have got in lightly.
The five-year-old has only had four starts over the obstacles and shaped really well on his penultimate outing when staying on nicely to finish a 6 1/4 length third of 16 to the 135-rated Fascino Rustico at Bangor.
Beg To Differ duly built on that run to score in good style at Wetherby last month, racing up with the pace and finding plenty to score by a comfortable two lengths.
The son of Flemensfirth was value for more than the winning margin and an opening mark of 119 looks lenient – especially on Beg To Differ’s run behind Fascino Rustico.
With the prospect of further improvement looking assured and the assistance of the 19-time champ in the saddle, Beg To Differ looks weighted to take all the beating.
2.25: Gone Forever
2.55: Bollin Julie
3.25: Romany Ryme
4.00: Upswing (NAP)
4.30: Knock A Hand
5.00: Beg To Differ (NB)